Wendy White, "Autokennel"
Thu Jul 10 2008
Photograph: Courtesy Leo Koenig, Inc
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
Wendy White’s debut show at Leo Koenig features paintings made of multiple canvases abutting each other, as though the frantic activity that splays across them can barely be contained. Airbrushed passages recalling graffiti tags create sooty densities that are offset by large expanses of white. Bits of fluorescent colors appear here and there, glowing like toxic embers. White’s technique ranges from sprays and smears to taped-out areas that have been painted over, leaving a glyphlike residue that evokes the relationship between the written mark and the painted one.
White places sculptures assembled from found materials beside her paintings, creating a theater where real life is pulverized into abstraction. The objects, which look like they come from a 99¢ store, provide a reference point for the paintings, preventing them from seeming too utopian, while allowing the possibility for narrative readings.
In Autokennel, a softball sits atop a metal rod in front of three frenzied canvases, as if to say that the paint has been pitched out or run around the bases of a game. A small white-and-black soccer ball juts out next to Mrs. Dash, invoking the speed and aggression of the World Cup. The brushstrokes seem to track the ball’s trajectory as players struggle to get it into the goal. Athletic and spastic, White’s work sparks with style and energy like Ab Ex on Gatorade.