Continuing through October 27, 2018
In her artist talk for “Natural Light,” Wendy White spoke fondly of her father’s passion for cars, then heatedly about toxic masculinity embedded in turmoil of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination. The New York-based artist warmly recalled a family road trip through the American West with her spouse and son, while subsequently explaining how her current series of collages-turned digital prints critiques the way that such terrain has been used in tandem with the machismo and misogyny of car culture. This push and pull of criticism and homage is something that carries throughout the exhibition.
“Natural Light” is steeped in the aesthetics of decades past. Wood paneled walls, ochre carpeting, and glossy, cut-out, Atari-era pixelated hearts underscore the vernacular of White’s “paintings” made of collaged denim and digital prints of ads for ‘70s and ‘80s sports cars. While details like flattened images of beer cans poking out from the pockets of the denim in her “paintings,” and women posing in the sports car ads knowingly revel in (what’s often considered in the artworld to be) “bad” or “low” taste, we can tell by White’s handling of them that her message is complex.
A vocal feminist, White pays tribute to the working class roots of American denim, the nostalgia of vintage cars, and romanticism of the American West, while laying bare the hyper-masculinity that has defined them. In “Natural Light,” White illustrates what it’s like to feel torn when we realize that the things we love can contain that which contradicts our principles.