Pick up a Knock

Sept 20 - Nov 9, 2013

Andrew Rafacz, Chicago

One of Oscar Wilde’s most celebrated quotes is often paraphrased as: “Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance,” revealing as much of the Irish writer’s thinking on love as it does on his interest in the virtues of artifice and masks in art. Wendy White’s work does not necessarily center on the notion of deception, per se, although like much work of and since the modern and post-modern eras, it encrypts layers of codes and meanings through a combination of abstract forms and textual elements. Her work suggests a clavado prospect of its own, prompting the viewer to untangle interconnections between different phenomena-references, mostly in Spanish, to soccer, aerosol, dates, and addresses-much like the referee sorting out the truth or fiction of a player’s tumble onto the pitch. text by Dominic Molon

Furthering her concept of the Sports Moment and addressing specifically the inclination in professional soccer toward “flopping,” Wendy White has created an installation of 5 single canvas paintings and 4 large-scale inkjet printed photographs on vinyl. The painting installation is completed with wall-to-wall white Astroturf installed on the gallery’s floor.

Flopping, or as Spanish-speaking countries refer to it, clavado (literally meaning nailed), is a strategy used to trick the referee into calling a foul. While other participating countries have long accepted this regular occurrence, Americans have long been reticent towards such a strategy, as it defines them as the underdog and is a sign of weakness. Our longstanding global position as one of power and winning is antithetical to the idea of failing as a means towards success. It has become so ubiquitous in the game that an aerosol pain medication, often referred to as Magic Spray, is now widely. When a player flops, trainers rush out and spray them, then they return to the game as if nothing happened.

In counterpoint, White investigates the history of her own gym in the Chinatown neighborhood of NYC, where numerous older patrons work out on broken equipment. The building housing the gym was raided a year ago for illegal gambling and fake doctors prescribing medicine without a license. The location is 35-37 E. Broadway, the same street where the first aerosol pain medication was invented in the 1860s, at the height of the E. Broadway gang activity.