David ‘MrStarCity’ White

LOVERBOY: Moonlit Roses And Heartache

Kantor Gallery is proud to present LOVERBOY: Moonlit Roses And Heartache, a solo exhibition of new works by David ‘MrStarCity’ White. The show will be on view at the gallery from August 17, 2020 through September 5, 2020.

Brooklyn-born and based out of New York City and Los Angeles, David MrStarCity White has become increasingly recognized for his experimental storytelling through means of figurative painting and poetry. MrStarCity creates bodies of work that span a diverse range of media from painting to sculpture, poetry to music, performance to the moving image. In recent years, MrStarCity has become increasingly recognized for his playful abstract portraits of both real and imagined subjects, embodying an otherworldly synthesis of the beauty, passion and conflict that define our world.

In past works, MrStarCity critically addressed the lasting effects of generational trauma on black identity, emotional well-being, and more broadly, on the stigmas associated with mental illnesses. The subjects referenced in past bodies of work were inspired by real life experiences and encounters with strangers, friends and family. MrStarCity’s work manifests the experiences and social histories of subjects often omitted from colonial narratives in a kind of autoethnography that is equally attuned to individual perspectives and collective structures. While this new body of work focuses on the “LOVERBOY” character, his work continues to be concerned with figures that extend beyond the representational, and result from his extended research into human emotion, breaking down stigmas and taboos in relation to mental illness.

In contrast to MrStarCity’s most recent exhibitions, the new works take a more dreamlike approach: “This show was my greatest escape,” MrStarCity says of LOVERBOY: Moonlit Roses And Heartache. During such unprecedented times plagued with uncertainty, confusion, anxiety and mistrust, MrStarCity uses the power of fantasy amidst turmoil to bring mental and emotional relief. He fuses painting with theatre, jazz, storytelling and design as a form of art therapy and a response to his personal mental well-being.

LOVERBOY: Moonlit Roses And Heartache recounts the story of a hopeless romantic named “LOVERBOY” — a traveling jazz musician by each sunset, broken-hearted once again by each sunrise. Chronically falling in love, restlessly traveling, LOVERBOY finds himself habitually alone and heartbroken. His only companion is his melancholic saxophone. Each piece in the exhibition illustrates LOVERBOY’s different states of internal torment as a hopeless romantic torn between two loves: music and his lover. Ultimately, LOVERBOY chooses his music and, as a result, is cursed by love, hopelessly falling in love with every woman he meets and broken-hearted by the time he must travel to the next city. 

While the majority of the paintings have focused on the heads of LOVERBOY placed in tightly cropped compositions, almost imprisoned by his own mind, MrStarCity also employs this compositional boldness and adventurous approach to surface in the paintings. Vibrant with color, the sculpturally textured canvases constructed from a combination of materials that make them both grand and intimate (acrylics, soil, dirt, pumice, charcoal) have been imbued dimensionally with palpable emotional charge, sharing their paradoxical mixture of vulnerability and strength, their utter strangeness and all-too-close familiarity. They seem to step forward out of the worlds they inhabit and into the spaces occupied by their viewers – a refreshed take on a swanky speakeasy setting.

The new body of work featured in LOVERBOY: Moonlit Roses And Heartache is defined by exploration and exemplifies the wide range of MrStarCity’s fearless experimentation. Alongside the paintings are lyrical passages of great sensitivity which comprise both the title of each work as well as the exhibition’s corresponding poem entitled Moonlit Roses… and Heartache (2020). In addition to the paintings, White has directed and produced an emotional animation accompanied by a moving soundtrack in collaboration with saxophonist and composer Eddie Codrington and animator Andrew Miller (aka “Drew Toonz”). MrStarCity’s recital of his poem with accompanying soundtrack and animation set a somber and profoundly heartfelt tone, one that pulls viewers deeper into the depths of the LOVERBOY’s world into which David MrStarCity White himself has escaped.

LOVERBOY: Moonlit Roses And Heartache is viewable starting August 17, 2020 through September 5, 2020, Monday through Saturday from 12pm to 6pm. To book an appointment to view the exhibition please email [email protected].

David Mr.StarCity White is a multidisciplinary artist born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, working across painting, sculpture, poetry, performance, video and installation art. While he creates figurative and abstract works through his spontaneous and constantly evolving, highly experimental practice, White’s undying commitment to spreading positivity while uplifting the spirits of his community remains constant throughout his body of work. Using found objects and any materials available at hand, sourcing from both real and imagined histories, his works are full of texture and infused with a deep sense of his physical and emotional surroundings. While identifying and unmasking societal ills, White addresses themes that live within the shared experiences of contemporary culture.

David MrStarCity (b. 1979, Brooklyn, New York City) lives and works in New York and Los Angeles. White has exhibited in various solo and group exhibitions with renown international galleries and institutions in New York City, Miami, Seattle, Los Angeles, London and Stockholm. His work has been featured in Juxtapoz, Instyle, New American Paintings and Hyperallergic. Notable forthcoming projects include the U.S. premiere of BLACK VOICES in partnership with FRIEZE/FRIEZE Magazine/WME, a solo exhibition with iv gallery (Los Angeles, CA) in 2020 and a solo exhibition with CFHill (Stockholm, SE) in 2021.