Wendy White
by Buzz Spector
From December Magazine, vol. 30.1, Spring/Summer 2019

Wendy White's photo mashups of muscle car advertisements, collaged clip art, and comic book texts evoke aspects of boys-will-be-boyish manhood. In one photo the artifact of a '70s hand-written "top ten" list of hot cars--"Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500" is number one--is superimposed on a similarly vintage ad for men's beachwear. The list is printed over the four smiling models (three white, one black). Also occluding the figures is a clip art rainbow arching above cartoon clouds. The clip art hearts and rainbows are disconcerting and fey next to the souped-up cars and sexual innuendo in these images. What's culturally branded as macho in those cars is also retro; they're a vision of manhood dreamt by boys from the past, and the artist's appropriations of clip art add a nostalgic patina to White's settings. Such sentimental elements suggest that what she means to record is pretend masculinity, less tethered to what men might be than to the performance of maleness as a brand.