Magazine article Artforum International

Wendy White: Leo Koenig

Magazine article Artforum International

Wendy White: Leo Koenig

Article excerpt

For a show of just four paintings, Wendy White's "Autokennel"--her first solo exhibition at this gallery--proved exceedingly ambitious despite its modest selection of large-scale offerings, each cobbled together from several panels. That a selection of artworks can make an implicit case for the virtues of editing might customarily go without mention, but it felt like an exceedingly rare and even quixotic thing in our bloated, garishly more-is-more (but still not enough) moment. And, anyhow, White's work seems to be precisely about the gambit of expression--painterly and otherwise--as somehow disinhibited and formally structured. Indeed, each of her paintings employs a similar format that, paradoxically, allows for greater attention to the localized differences between them: Across multiple contiguous canvases, pieced together to both contain and abet sprawl, White goes to work with an admixture of sooty spray paint and fluorescent acrylics, applying various layers that ultimately suggest graffiti tags and well-behaved abstraction in turn.

Back to Scrape, 2007, extends over three segments, one of which nestles in a corner, bent at a ninety-degree angle, so as to stretch onto the adjacent wall. Plenty of open fields of primed ground relieve the aggressive opticality of the omnipresent Day-Glo (tart lemon yellow, hot pink, and a menacing orange jostle for attention), and reveal, in the upper and lower left, two forms in negative, their shadowy outlines preserving the traces of elements that are no longer there. Details like these attest to White's careful consideration of her compositions, as do sections of paint that are demonstrably--even earnestly--taped, layered, and administered in fastidiously lean washes. So as not to get too fussy, though, White also appropriates objects-cum-sculptures(perhaps a variant of what's gone missing from Back to Scrape) and winsomely takes her cues from the likes of "space junk" and "buried hazardous material. …

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