Erik White was born in Redwood City, California, November 15, 1977. He has been painting and drawing since he could walk. Attracted to color and contrast from a young age, he would spend hours drawing as a child. By the age of four Erik had developed a love for painting. Even as a young boy he saw how painting can change a person's perspective. Paintings explain the language of dreams, and birth new worlds that never before existed. His earliest work combines dream imagery with the natural world he spent so many hours studying and drawing. Starting as many children do with finger paints, pastels, and water colors, Erik began to use acrylics in grade school, and by high school was working in oils.
Graduating from UC Berkeley in 2002 as an English major, he had taken several more Art classes in college, and the classical techniques no longer seemed satisfactory to deal with the new world. Depressed and stressed from the pressure of school and the events of 9/11, he began to search for a method of painting which was both cathartic and beautiful. Using house paint and furniture paint, in the style of Jackson Pollock, a completely new style emerged. Pools of paint on the canvas's surface capture the movement of paint under the pull of gravity. He named this style Gravitational Art.
The mechanization of the body in the painting process creates forms that mimic nature. Gravitational Art advances the style of Jackson Pollock by creating an abstract experience that is equally capable of representing the microcosm of tree branches or the macrocosm of the universe. The lines and splatters used in the technique are completely reformed as gravity moves the paint. The captured movement is a mirror to nature as the frozen lines contain the force of gravity that pulled them. Cracks open as the top layers dry and then separate, exposing the lower layers. Paint overlaps so the light and dark colors swirl like the spirals of overlapping galaxies. Contrasting colors form shapes like Rorschach inkblots that become clouds, leaves, water, wind, and space.
The movement of the paint pulled by gravity is a frozen record of the force that holds our world together. The paint is a visual representation of those invisible vibrations. The colors combine to create an experience that is as beautiful as the nature it mimics. As powerful as the force of gravity that helped to create it, Gravitational Art connects the viewer to the forces of nature with compositions that are dynamic and colorful. Each person's reaction will be connected to their own personal history, and the emotions those color combinations evoke.
From the depths of creation volcanoes explode. Seedlings grow into towering forests. Water flows downhill with the force of gravity. It is so powerful it cuts through rock and carved the Grand Canyon. It is gravity that keeps the planets spinning around the sun, and allows life to exist here on earth. It is the nature of our universe. As gravity forms universes it is the controlling force of Gravitational Art. Just as gravity keeps our feet planted on the ground, pulls braches from dead trees in the forest, and keeps the planets in their orbits, it molds and shapes the paint. This undeniable force that holds us to the earth has given us the beauty of nature. Likewise, gravity has created these paintings. Paint swirls and mixes on their thin surface. It moves with the planet. It is a dance between the motion of the body and the movement of the earth.
As the force of gravity pulls the paint it creates new universes. This spirit of creation blooms in flowers, water and fire, ice and tropical plants, all shaped as nature moves the paint. The paint fights like the forces of creation, imposing the will of nature over the human will which attempts to control it. Gravitational Art mimics the natural forces that have formed the earth and the cosmos, creating something beautiful that is infused with that same spirit of creation. In the tradition of Jackson Pollock, Gravitational Art is a harmonious balance between man and nature. The movement of the body merges with the spinning planet.
First the blank canvas is leveled, then paint is applied in swirls, lines, and splatters. The brush seldom touches the canvas, allowing the colors to mix naturally in their application. Many layers of paint are applied, so the thin glassy surface contains a universe of spider-webs and lakes of color, each color fighting for position. Over time the paint is pushed and pulled by the force of gravity. It takes most of these paintings more than 48 hours to dry. In the drying process the paint swirls with the spirit of the universe. It forms a world of painted creatures; creating explosions of color controlled by forces that reform intellect and passion—temperature, gravity, and time. The color becomes a pure expression of the force of gravity. As the paint is pulled downward to the center of the canvas or drips off the edges, it contains the power of the spirit which brought it to life. In this process the human will combines with the forces of nature to create beautiful paintings.
The surface rolls and undulates in a frozen record of how gravity has shifted the paint. The truth of these paintings lives in the imagination. Like a Rorschach ink blot, each viewer discovers their own images and makes their own emotional connection to the colors and the dynamic surface of the canvas. The energy and movement trapped in each canvas propels the viewer to connect with their own emotions, and with nature through the feelings the colors evoke.
This is the movement of gravity
Pushing and pulling and mixing
In the eye of the spiral spinning
On the glassy surface like water;
Still at the edge of the earth
A perfectly flat and level plane
Leveling these waves of color
Rippling under their own weight—
This is the effect of movement
Affecting the emotion of colors,
Growing into flower blossoms
Blooming from bodies in motion—
Where the universe creates this beauty
So deep and vast that cracks are victory.