11 MAR. 2023
We are delighted to present the fourth exhibition of the New York artist Wendy White at VAN HORN.
Wendy White’s work moves away from conservative media classifications. She combines painting, object art and assemblage to create montages of the most diverse impressions. The works seem to be metaphors of both inner and outer life. They contain the world that surrounds people, with all its influences, sounds, smells and gadgets. White fuses high-art with spray elements, signs of street art come together with colour gradients that recall the sensual experience of a Mark Rothko. The artist also cites Robert Rauschenberg as an inspiration, and there is no doubt that touches of his transmedial approach can be found in Wendy White’s works.
White approaches a dissolution of pictorial reality and the reality of life. In doing so, she does not invent a new world, but rather lends an inner “stream of consciousness”, which at one time is determined by thought streams of abstract images and feelings, at another time by more or less formulated thought fragments, the possibility of establishing a connection with a world of external experience. Wendy White’s art not only reflects the spectrum of an inner life, but also links it to the source of all impressions: the living world.
The artist dissolves conservative visual axes by inverting the objects of her paintings (Fata Morgana, 2022), deliberately “veiling” them (Thick Smoke, 2022) or allowing the viewer to enter a completely new world in which sculptures by Brancusi are confronted with neon-coloured slogans (Interior Exotics, 2022). The exhibition at VAN HORN is characterised by three groups of works: “Corner Mods”, “Pixel Frames” and “Alone In Public”. The series of works raise questions about the (inner and outer) spaces in which contemporary humankind moves. Digital space plays just as much a role as the privacy of one’s own home. At the same time, they are presented as permeable and the influence of one on the other becomes visible. What is inside and what is outside, what is part of a digital machinery and what is a valued design and art object, loses meaning and merges into one another.
The artist’s oeuvre paves the way for the individual to see more than monovisual perspectives. High culture and subculture meet a mixture of formal languages, hypnotically gentle colour gradients meet splashes of colour and clearly outlined lines. It is astonishing that despite the abundance of sensory impressions, there is no feeling of chaos, but rather a coming together of the elements is reflected and the works tell with humorously cool composure of the nature of a human-made environment consisting of apparent contrasts. Instinctively, the realisation occurs that these opposites are all fragments of the same story.
Text: Clara Stratmann
Wendy White, *1971, Deep River, CT, lives and works in New York City.
The Corner Mods are multiple canvas paintings that further the formal considerations of three previous series: Multiple Canvas Paintings, 3-stripes, and Corner Rainbows. These works juxtapose raw and inkjet printed canvases with painted automotive decals and neon corner elements. Images of Brancusi sculptures, stacks of books with elusive titles, and mid-century chairs are nods to the abject purity of form and also to domestic space, one defined only as dusky atmosphere.
The newest iteration of the PVCs series, the Pixel Frame paintings feature canvases inset into custom frames. Reflecting on the digital realm, the frames continue the painting’s surface while extending into pixelated fragments. A deep, perhaps hypnotic space is created by way of abstract color fields with minimal brushwork, the occasional graphic line, or a solitary lens flare.
The Alone in Public series riffs on Alberto Giacometti’s attenuated figures with anthropomorphized peace symbols in various states of action and rest: transience, walking toward an unknown destination, relaxing, and lying on the floor.