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Wendy White Biography

The paintings and sculptures of Wendy White employ language and aesthetics often related to male-dominated areas, from professional sports and muscle car culture to Abstract Expressionism. The artist uses iconic branding, gestural mark making, and materials such as denim; she highlights topics of masculinity while producing metaphors that address our current social and political moment.

Many of White’s recent works have included worn denim, a quintessentially American fabric associated with labor and a sense of western self-reliance. Focusing exclusively on men’s jeans, she undermines the masculine quality of the clothing by ripping and deflating them until they are fit to become a substrate for her painting. Co-opting the material and its cultural connotations, White makes marks with dripped and splattered bleach before garnishing each piece with flat cut-out rainbows, beer bottles, and energy drinks.

The artist flattens the hierarchy of imagery in her works using visual cues of both contemporary advertising and twentieth century painting. She amalgamates advertisements, documentary photographs, and consumerist logos found throughout the United States. This attempt to make something “new” is done through compositing existing signs. Just like oil spills on a garage floor or greasy handprints on a modified car, the idea of modification can often be messy.

The signifier of a drip or smear function historically as a heroic gesture of male mark-making in 20th century art. White attempts to dismantle this language along with the messages found in her printed source material. Blurring the lines between the machine and the hand, the messy and clean, the mistake and the intentional, White reinserts agency by recombining various symbols until she takes full control of the meaning. Ultimately, throughout her practice, White questions, pays homage to, and criticizes what “improvement” really looks like – and how the Americana lexicon is situated in dominance, speed, manifest destiny, and a rugged-yet- inaccessible individualism.

Wendy White (b. 1971, Deep River, CT). White earned an MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 2003 and a BFA from Savannah College of Art & Design, Savannah, GA in 1993. White’s works have been featured in group exhibitions at M Woods, Beijing; The Museum of Fine Arts, Gifu, Japan (both 2015); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2014); Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (2011); Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha (2010) and the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (2009.) Solo and two-person exhibitions include Cabinet, Milan with Brian Calvin (2017); VAN HORN, Düsseldorf (2012, 2017); David Castillo Gallery, Miami (2015); Andrew Rafacz, Chicago (2010, 2013); Leo Koenig, New York (2008, 2010 and 2012); and Savannah College of Art & Design with José Parlá (2012) among many others. Collections include Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI; Southern Poverty Law Center, Montgomery, AL; Taguchi Art Collection, Japan; Progressive Art Collection, USA; UBS Art Collection, Zurich; Savannah College of Art & Design, USA; ARCO Foundation, Madrid; Tulip Collection, UK; Saks Fifth Avenue, USA; Red Bull North America Jimenez-Colon Collection, Puerto Rico; Art Museum at the University of Kentucky, KY; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Detroit Institute of the Arts and Shinola Hotel in Detroit. White’s work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Modern Painters, Art Papers, Artforum, Art in America, New York Magazine. White lives and works in New York City.

 

Past Exhibition

Wendy White

Racetrack Playa

The paintings and sculptures of Wendy White employ language and aesthetics often related to male-dominated areas, from professional sports and muscle car culture to Abstract Expressionism. The artist uses iconic branding, gestural mark making, and materials such as denim; she highlights topics of masculinity while producing metaphors that address our current social and political moment. […]

Past Exhibition

Broken Language

Josh Faught, Greg Ito, Takeshi Murata, and Wendy White

The paintings and sculptures of Wendy White employ language and aesthetics often related to male-dominated areas, from professional sports and muscle car culture to Abstract Expressionism. The artist uses iconic branding, gestural mark making, and materials such as denim; she highlights topics of masculinity while producing metaphors that address our current social and political moment. […]