Christopher David White
“That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and impermanent, is the first mark of existence. It is the ordinary state of affairs. Everything is in process. Everything—every tree, every blade of grass, all the animals, insects, human beings, buildings, the animate and the inanimate—is always changing, moment to moment.” Pema Chodron
Like Chodron (a prolific author and Buddhist nun), I believe that change is evident in nearly every aspect of our daily lives and comes in numerous forms. The people we know, the world in which we live, and even the technology we use on a daily basis is in a constant state of flux. With nature undergoing this perpetual transformation, everything derived from nature is subject to the same cycle of growth and decay – life and death. Often, the process of change occurs at an almost unnoticeable rate. For this reason, we become attached to the world around us, and we expect that things will remain the same. So we take for granted what we experience each day of our lives. But, permanence is the ultimate illusion.
Today, we attempt to subvert impermanence through technology and science. We isolate ourselves from the natural world, viewing it from the perspective of a spectator rather than a participant. Going about our daily lives, we rarely notice nor appreciate each unique experience our surroundings offer. For me, there is a peace that can be found in even the simplest things – a decaying piece of wood, rusted metal, crumbling brick, the growth of moss and lichen. These ordinary elements within our environments offer both visual and physical reminders of our connection with nature. I am inspired by the small, overlooked aspects of our environment, finding enjoyment in the unexpected discoveries that come from simply being observant of the minutia and incorporating those mundane forms into my work. In my observations I also see similarities between the processes that occur in nature and those that drive us. By combining both human and natural elements within my work, I hope to highlight the fact that we are not separate from nature, but are in fact part of it, and in being so, we are as impermanent as a flash of lightning in the sky.
Through the use of trompe l’oeil, we look closer; we rediscover the amazement, joy, and tranquility that come from our environment. At the same time, we witness our impermanence by evenhandedly dialing in on decay. Neither good nor bad, decay is simply a natural process of our world that at times can produce deeply moving and beautiful effects.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Minor: Art History
Nick’s English Hut Award in Ceramics, Indiana University
Dove Family Scholarship, Indiana University