Magazine article Sculpture

Fort Myers, Florida: Wayne White

Magazine article Sculpture

Fort Myers, Florida: Wayne White

Article excerpt

FORT MYERS, FLORIDA

Wayne White

Bob Rauschenberg Gallery, Florida Southwestern State College

Wayne White's recent exhibition opened with a puppet performance by the artist that paid homage to the gallery's namesake. Best known for his Emmy Award-winning sets and puppets for "Pee-Wee's Play house," White has had a foot in the art world since the beginning of his career. Here, he brought the playful gestures of a comedian and prankster into the gallery, transforming it into an immersive space.

Viewers were greeted by a logo painted on the wall outside the space-the Florida Southwestern college mascot morphed into White's image. The subversive attitude continued inside, where enlarged abstract "doodles" covered the walls from floor to ceiling. These became the backdrop for White's word-art paintings, which in turn became the environment for the Big Bob puppet sculpture and Big Bob's "performance painting."

The word-art paintings are comedic puzzles that White creates by painting dramatic phrases on second-hand, framed prints. Remin - iscent of the Hollywood sign, these works function as imagined sculptures set in landscapes and still-lifes. The paintings were accompanied by a series of drawings and collages that White made while in residence at Rauschenberg's compound on nearby Captiva Island. The drawings reflect on regional concerns through titles like Ding Darling (local environmentalist and political cartoonist).

Big Bob, a 15-foot-tall puppet, dominated the exhibition, sitting stationary in front of a wall, surrounded by mounds of cardboard boxes. …

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