French Cuts

Sept 10 - Oct 23, 2010

Andrew Rafacz, Chicago

Wendy White connects the world of the gallery, the world outside and her own internal world via her use of materials and confessional pronouncements before a larger audience. By exploring the physical properties of text and typography, and treating the words as malleable, sculptural objects, her canvases tread a fine line between abstract form and conceptual point-blankness while still eliciting a visceral reaction in the viewer: one of recognition. The ideas that White espouses through the textual aspects of her canvases are things that the viewer can identify with, and though the medium is unlike the ways in which one would normally communicate—vibrating the vocal chords or putting pen to paper—the thought that shapes the canvas is relatable. If it all seems somewhat familiar, that is the point.  Britt Julious

Continuing to employ multiple canvases and heavy saturations of sprayed paint while investigating the limits of space and text, Wendy White’s newest paintings find the artist adding word-shaped canvases to the periphery of the central canvases and creating a more composed font to deliver the interior text. She has continued her use of black and Day-Glo spray paint as well as large patches of nearly raw canvas. Also present is the contrast between clean, masked out painterly lines and improvised blasts and tangles from a spray gun. The individual words and texts contained in and on the edges of the painting are simultaneously quotidian and strange, extracted from personal memories and signs in the artist’s own experienced, external world. Working like a concrete language poet, White often breaks these words down to the taxeme and then reconfigures them. What we are left with is sometimes a truncation of the original word or phrase, and other times entirely neologistic.

In a fundamental reversal, the content of White’s paintings (namely these semi-mysterious imbedded messages) is largely an extension of the formal relationships of paint and canvas. The declarations and utterances seem to be born out of the liminal space of the painting itself. In this way, literal space and psychological space mesh, redefining the limitations of abstraction as a whole.

The title of the exhibition itself references a fascination with style (haircuts, pop tracks?) but also more directly, a relationship to another language (from which much of the text is derived) and its subsequent dissection.