SCAD presents "Loves," an exhibition by SCAD alumna Wendy White (B.F.A., fibers, 1993) that explores the boundaries of painting with nontraditional materials such as inkjet-printed canvas, vinyl signage and deconstructed denim jeans. In the exhibition, the artist mines the aesthetics of the gas station chain Love’s Travel Stops, reflecting on the optimism of the company’s name and finding a parallel to the experience of the American road trip and the myth of Manifest Destiny. The exhibition comprises new work from her "Fotobilds," "Jeans" and "Sculptures" series, and features a site-specific immersion of vibrant color.
In "Loves," Gallery 1600 is transformed through the application of bright yellow carpeting on the walls and floor. Carefully selected to mirror the saturated canary yellow of the Loves’ logo and marketing materials, the carpeting sets the stage for sensitive spatial relationships between the work and the viewer. With the inclusion of White’s "Jofa," a denim-adorned custom sofa, visitors are invited into a contemplative space complete with books and memorabilia that White has altered through drawing and collage, which viewers are welcomed to examine and peruse.
The denim motif seen in the "Jofa" is expanded upon in White’s "Jeans" series. These works employ reclaimed jeans as a compositional element, with additions of bleach, acrylic paint and photo replications of common gas station products, cleverly tucked into the pockets. These works form an amalgamation of recognizable imagery of popular brands, a tangible, ubiquitously American object and abstract painting.
Additionally, the artist presents new sculptures cut from glossy black Dibond®. These reflective hearts, rainbows and clouds are embellished with various new and vintage stickers that one might find while traveling: fuel brands, outdoor gear, camping supplies and state parks feature prominently. While seemingly cheerful forms, these inky, black pieces suggest a darker conceptual tone; their surfaces, evocative of spilled and dripping oil, remind viewers of the effect these massive industries have on Earth’s fragile environment.
In her large-scale "Fotobilds," White celebrates the great American West with photographic prints of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Arches National Park in Utah. Much like the visual experience of American culture, White’s artworks are hybrids of branding, photography and painterly gesture.
"Loves" is curated by Ben Tollefson, assistant curator of SCAD exhibitions.
At SCAD Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia, from February 20 until June 8, 2018. Free entry.