David Castillo Gallery is proud to present Wendy White’s second solo exhibition at the gallery Oil Slicks, a meditation on the American dream versus the flawed mythos of happiness, optimism and nostalgia. Debuting the newest iteration of her Jeans series, White juxtaposes the tactile and synthetic in brightly hued canvases framed in collaged fragments of denim jeans, resulting in a psychedelic clash of marks and splatters. Hearkening back to velvet paintings of the 1960s, with the addition of timeless denim, these works also lend a knowing wink to current times.
Jeans were invented for the Gold Rush and have found a home in nearly every American era since. By utilizing men’s jeans, long a symbol of American ruggedness and authenticity, White subverts traditional notions of masculinity by recycling the material into two denim heart sculptures. Once rugged and plain, the jeans are transformed into objects that are soft, splattered and nuanced.
Three sculptures made from shiny black Dibond punctuate the gallery and further White’s use of optimistic symbolism as talisman. Pixel Heart (Keep on Truckin’) riffs on the famous R. Crumb series, in which men are depicted confidently striding through the world; Double Rainbow stacks two rainbows in a totem as a take on the “Rainbow Man” petroglyph in Barrier Canyon, Utah; and a corner rainbow draws attention to where the wall’s edge meets the floor, creating a new horizon for the viewer.
While the paintings are eye catching and the sculptures feature familiar symbols, White’s world is not without conflict, thus mirroring our own. The myth of American escapism and the enduring draw of the open road are forever linked with our dependence on the oil and gas industry. Happiness comes at a cost, and progress is never a promise. The pendulum swings. The works in Oil Slicks all contain and utilize this dichotomy. Just as in nature, a rainbow is a full circle, but one can only see what’s above the horizon.
Wendy White attended Mason Gross School of the Arts (MFA, 2003). She lives and works in New York, NY. Upcoming exhibitions of White’s work include group exhibitions The World’s Game, Fútbol and Contemporary Art, curated by Franklin Sirmans, Perez Art Museum Miami (April 6-Sept 2, 2018); Points of Light in a Nocturnal World, Metro Pictures, Brooklyn, NY (opens April 2018); and solo exhibitions at Hidari Zingaro, invited by Takashi Murakami, (opens July 2018) and at Museum Goch, Germany (Fall 2019). The artist’s work has also been exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Kunstverein Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin; Savannah College of Art & Design; The Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts, Stockholm, among many others.