The New Yorker: Goings on About Town: Wendy White

Johanna Fateman, The New Yorker, June 10, 2021

In “Mark and Phil,” this New York artist’s first exhibition at the Denny Dimin gallery, in Tribeca, the digital and the analog overlap in a hallucinatory, cartoony world. Sculptures reminiscent of gloomy emojis (black rainbows, clouds, teardrops) are paired with trompe-l’oeil paintings, at once grand and scrappy, depicting plywood carved with graffiti. The show’s centerpiece is a large, low-hanging mobile of black enamel rods and chains—you might call its style “playground goth”—whose dangling shapes include an L.E.D. light in the jagged shape of a pixelated heart, a bright spot that recalls an Instagram sticker. The social-media-inflected mood of the sculptures is both matched and expanded on in White’s paintings, whose faux-wood surfaces inevitably evoke boarded-up windows. Bubble letters spell out expressions of love (“Shaz + Joanne”) as well as ennui (“IM BORED”), merging the graphic aesthetic of TikTok with the tradition of handmade marks, from school-desk doodles to the painted caves of Lascaux.