What Happens When Nothing Happens? New works from April White

A Day in the Life of can be found on the stairwell of the Rooms as visitors go about their day.

On June 27th 2015 April White got up albeit reluctantly, planned her morning, felt a little guilty about it, stood in front of her mirror, went to work, ate a sandwich, and ended her day at Lindy Hop. A Day in the Life of by April White is a new series of watercolors and two video works recently opened at The Rooms.

Curated by Gallery Director Vicky Chainey-Gagnon, these brand new watercolors investigate a seemingly uneventful day in the artists’ life. But the question is what happens when nothing happens?

In 2001, Paul Virilio reflected back to the events post-1968 where seemingly everything had shifted overnight. Culturally, artists, theorists, and writers were turning to explore the everyday, the ‘infra-ordinary’ or in his words “what do we do when we do nothing, what do we hear when we hear nothing, what happens when nothing happens?”

Eggs

He and his colleagues were interested in precisely those things which were opposite of extraordinary. By drawing attention to the mundane movements of the city, they began to investigate their surroundings the city’s symptoms and scents to see if more could to be learned.

In White’s case having been born many years after Virilio and colleagues, this sense of the present moment has only stretched further over the past 40 odd years. In this time span, durational artistic practices emerged: performance art, ephemeral installations, mail art, video art and more. Indeed, much of contemporary art exists in this always-now, or never-again space, which further complicates art history’s drive to define this moment.

And so, we see a constant returning to these ideas as many contemporary artists explore personal rituals, everyday moments. Just think about how we all self-document, curate our news feeds, take photos of our most mundane moments. We’re all familiar with selfies that glamorize us as subject but in White’s new work we see a more humble accounting of the artist’s movement through the city.

Breakfast

Looking at this exhibition, the artist presents us with her day as various installation details, rather than singular watercolors with titles. The exhibition is to be experienced as a whole from the way her breakfast table looked (striking a nice link with another famed Newfoundland painter Mary Pratt) to a bus ride, and even two amusingly candid journal pages.

Choosing watercolour, White is in control of what she wishes us to see, illuminating some areas, leaving others blank. Recalling partial memories, the medium here is a great choice as so often we remember just the way the egg looked when it was cooking in the pan or the brightly colored fabric of the St. John’s Metrobus. These are ordinary but remarkable details that document both personal and shared experiences of our city today.

 A Day in the Life of can be found on the stairwell of the Rooms as visitors go about their day.until September 25th. April will give an artist talk about her work April 27th at the Rooms at 7pm.

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