The paintings and sculptures of Wendy White employ language and aesthetics often related to male-dominated areas, from professional sports and muscle car culture to Abstract Expressionism. The artist uses iconic branding, gestural mark making, and materials such as denim; she highlights topics of masculinity while producing metaphors that address our current social and political moment.
The artist flattens the hierarchy of imagery in her works using visual cues of both contemporary advertising and twentieth century painting. She amalgamates advertisements, documentary photographs, and consumerist logos found throughout the United States. This attempt to make something “new” is done through compositing existing signs. Just like oil spills on a garage floor or greasy handprints on a modified car, the idea of modification can often be messy.
The signifier of a drip or smear function historically as a heroic gesture of male mark-making in 20th century art. White attempts to dismantle this language along with the messages found in her printed source material. Blurring the lines between the machine and the hand, the messy and clean, the mistake and the intentional, White reinserts agency by recombining various symbols until she takes full control of the meaning. Ultimately, throughout her work, White questions, pays homage to, and criticizes what “improvement” really looks like – and how the Americana lexicon is situated in dominance, speed, manifest destiny, and a rugged-yet- inaccessible individualism.