Charlie White – The Girl Studies
November 1 - December 20, 2008
Loock Galerie is proud to present new works by American artist Charlie White.
Comprised of a 35mm short-film, an experimental animation, and a series of new photographs, White's current body of work is the culmination of three years of research and production. This exhibition, titled The Girl Studies, presents the broadest range in his practice to date and further evolves his specifically American cultural critique.
The Girl Studies premieres White's first film, American Minor, a 35mm short that meditates on the isolated world of an American teen girl. Through painstakingly composed, lingering scenes, the film focuses on the external environment and internal state of a fourteen-year-old, upper-middle-class American girl whose identity and consciousness are defined through products, objects, and perpetual consumption. The careful balance of organizational tension and social critique established in White's photography unfolds in time with unsettling focus and disciplined structure.
White's first animated work, which he wrote and directed, is a Saturday-morning-style cartoon titled OMG BFF LOL. By creating his own byproduct of the female teen voice, White explores the process of re-creation as an alternative strategy of cultural intervention. More than a mere appropriation, but stopping short of outright parody, OMG BFF LOL entails the artist’s creative participation in another medium in order to understand and ultimately modify its contents.
In White's new photographs, the artist removes the tableaux that defined his prior projects and instead regards his subjects directly, without the mediation of sets, props, or narrative. Central to this new work is a group of five photographs titled Teen and Transgender Comparative Study, which parallels two puberties: one biological, the other chemical/surgical. Over the course of a year, White worked to identify teen and male-to-female transsexual subjects who, when viewed together, would create a visual bridge between female adolescence and male-to-female sexual transformation. In additional works such as Boy Posed and Girl Posed, White further maps the primacy of feminine identity and desire in the 21st century by mimicking portraits from teen magazines such as J-14, Pop Star, and TeenBeat. In these images, White isolates the gaze established for the female teen consumer and foregrounds the unacknowledged complications of this gaze as a product of adults.
Concurrent with the exhibition, the book American Minor, edited by Codax and distributed by JRP Ringier, will be released. Featuring essays by Christoph Doswald and Dorothea Strauss, American Minor chronicles White's studio work from 2003 to 2008. It catalogues White’s personal archives, documents, collections, and major works focusing on the American teen image in late capitalism.
Charlie White has been a critical contributor to photography's radical transition over the past decade, and his work continues to move the medium forward. White, 36, has exhibited his photography internationally since his first solo exhibition in 1999. He has been described by Grace Glueck in the New York Times as "a wiz at set-up photography, directing and staging his narrative stills with cinematic techniques", and David Vellesco in Artforum described his work as "offer[ing] luscious and compelling snapshots of a uniquely American psychology". White's photography has been shown at PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; MCA Chicago; Oberösterreichisches Landesumuseum, Austria; ZKM Museum für Neue Kunst, Germany; and the Center for Contemporary Art in Salamanca, Spain. White's work will be featured at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles this coming spring.