Up w/Briquette

Apr 23 - May 22, 2010
Leo Koenig Inc., New York, NY

Wendy White continues her push toward cerebral and optical originality, combining abstraction, graffiti, and visual exuberance in large canvases. They're filled with amorphous Day-Glo fields, taped-out letter shapes, and actual words carved into the borders of the works, like annunciations issued by the gods of abstraction. Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine

In her second show at the gallery, the artist incorporates many techniques familiar to her work, such as multiple canvases configured to read as a whole, aggressive line work, acrid colors, and a generous helping of black paint. Added to the mix are outlines of letters and sculptural attachments which mimic written language.

White comments on the title: "The phrase 'Up w/Briquette' champions the unaesthetic... a charcoal briquette is a dirty, sooty object with a paradoxically dainty French name.... and it's an ordinary part of backyard American lexicon. The original pronunciation endures every barbecue." This offhanded statement belies the sheer visual impact and complexity of her large scale, vibrant canvases.

Language and communication figure prominently in White's works. Billboards, street signage, and graffiti all express a kind of communication that White subverts and strips of its manipulative associations, forcing a querying rather than consumed response. If language contains within it the essence of a culture, then White's canvases can be seen as approaching the fragmented, cursory modes of interaction that take place in our daily lives. Territories suggest text, but there are lines missing, messages truncated, and forms reversed. By using component canvases, White forms a commentary on all sorts of concepts from modernism to urban planning and the contemporary obsession with compartmentalization of space.