IU grad named 2012 Windgate Fellow

Opening an emailed image from newly minted Indiana University graduate Christopher White, I was unprepared for my reaction to his ceramic work “Cycle of Decay.”

Cycle of Decay

It features a gnarled wooden hand holding a partially deconstructed brick wall in its palm, the wall’s cracks and irregular lines sporting encroaching greenery. While I’m no art critic, to me it feels otherworldly — and even a little bit apocalyptic — but also achingly alive in some undefinable way.

Like “Cycle of Decay,” much of White’s work explores the interaction between nature and man, honing in on those moments when decay begins and the natural environment slowly — yet insistently — begins to reclaim created structures.

White graduated earlier this month with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics from the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts in the College of Arts and Sciences, just as he learned he’d been selected as a 2012 Windgate Fellow.

The $15,000 award is granted annually to a dozen fellows by The Center for Craft, Creativity and Design to give emerging artists both the validation and financial resources to pursue their dreams.

White plans to travel to the International Museum of Ceramics in Italy, as well as Chicago and California’s Joshua Tree National Park.

“I’ll be looking at places where nature is starting to reintroduce itself into urban environments, and starting to encroach on it almost parasitically, and will be taking images and inspiration from that,” he said. “I’ve had a fondness for abandoned buildings since I was younger. And I’m still interested in things decaying or being abandoned or overlooked. There’s the organic-ness of something being taken back, which creates this push-pull between humans and nature.”

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