‘Savor the Flavor.’
A snail sits on a popsicle within kissing distance of a man’s mouth as he willfully sucks out the confection’s chilly orange flavor. It’s an utterly disturbing yet grotesquely humorous image—a fragment of a nightmare, a half-remembered fear that causes a shudder of unease in the viewer. This is just one of the many strange and darkly fantastic canvases painted by Australian artist Beau White.
Since childhood, White has drawn or painted similarly absurd and uncanny images. He describes his art as “hyperrealist absurdism.” He claims no “grand vision or statement’ for his work, but rather wants to “paint silliness and weirdness in various forms for my own gratification and anyone else with similar inclinations.”
There is nothing particularly philosophical about my art in the conceptual sense. There are themes and narratives that are relatively simple and obvious, with the main focus being on the ridiculous.
Although I steer away from taking the subject matter in my work too seriously, I do spend a serious amount of time, consideration and mental exertion on my creative process. That’s where I derive the most meaning in my art; In the doing, not the discussion that follows.
One of his flagship pieces, “Thirst” from 2015, depicts a woman (his partner Isabel Peppard) covered in drying clay emerging from some dank undergrowth presenting a hideously huge shiny leech cradled in her arms. Artists like writers tend to betray their own emotions in their work. When White was a child he used to swim in the local creek that was infested with bloodthirsty leeches. It was a start of a phobia that has remained all his life. However, White prefers his audience to derive their own meanings and interpretations from his work rather than be told how they should or shouldn’t think or feel about it.
See more of Beau White’s work here.
Via Hi-Fructose, Artodyssey, and Melbourne Arts Club.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Animal Planet: The beautiful, disturbing and surreal paintings of Martin Wittfooth
‘Dr. Death’: The macabre and disturbing paintings of Jack Kevorkian
Apocalypse from now on: Haunting paintings that depict a world during the end of days
Unsettling paintings capture a grim, post-apocalyptic future