Joshua Liner Gallery is pleased to present its second major solo exhibition of work from Los Angeles based artist Wayne White: I'M HAVING A DIALOGUE WITH THE UNIVERSE AND YOU'RE JUST SITTING THERE. This exhibition will be White’s most ambitious project to date with the Gallery, featuring all aspects of the artist’s multidisciplinary practice: including kinetic sculptures, murals, work on paper, a wallpaper installation, and White’s signature word paintings on vintage offset lithographs. From puppeteer, to painter, illustrator, sculptor, wordsmith—and even typographic artist—the enormous breadth of White’s creative output is a fruitful product of a career spanning over 35 years. The artist will be present for an opening reception on Thursday, September 8, 2016.
For this body of work, White deconstructs themes surrounding vanity, hubris, and the inflated egos of artists, as he explains, “I’m drawn to the humor of vanity. The title of the show is an artist’s private, nasty thoughts about how he or she is superior to the public and is so worthy of praise and attention. It’s my way of popping bubbles and kicking pedestals.” Humor in particular is among the strongest touchstones of White’s work, explored throughout the entirety of his practice, and most discernibly in his word painting series –painted, often profane epithets, on vintage offset lithographs of kitschy landscapes. Cleverly wry phrases such as “THOSE GUYS ARE PUSSIES,” and “HAD IT GOIN ON BUT LOST IT THEN GOT IT BACK THEN FUCKED UP AND LOST IT,” interrupt the scenery, oftentimes integrated within the formal compositions of the offset prints.
White pays special attention to the structure of each letterform in the word paintings, creating dynamic optical interactions. In WE WERE IN AWE OF HIS WORK BUT HE WAS A GIANT ASSHOLE, the painted words protrude from a covered bridge, like pins in a pincushion, their perspectives shifting and turning around the framework. This arrangement of forms requires careful reading, as letters transform from clearly legible words into objects with vanishing points and buoyancy. In contrast to recent word paintings from White, these new works revisit an earlier style from the artist that evokes strong influences of Surrealism. Meanwhile, F.U. MONEY elicits Dadaist influences with its mixing of letterforms and unorthodox punctuation, superimposed on a Parisian scene at dusk. Adding to the Surrealist undertones, and echoing the walls of Peggy Guggenheim’s art collection, the installation of the works will extend from the gallery walls, held upright by oversized plywood hands. Other works engage with the artist’s nostalgia for his youth, and Southern heritage. In Covered Wagon, White paints a pre-industrial American carriage, spiraling into the center of a found lithograph, while a series of works on paper explore various commercial signage from mid-century America.
White’s extensive career as an artist, designer, and art director has long included collaborative projects extending as far back as his first professional ventures as a production designer in the 1980s. The artist’s most recent collaborative work—a wallpaper installation with Brooklyn-based Flavor Paper—will be installed in the Gallery. Entitled Waynetopia, the wallpaper design is adapted from a mural in the artist’s dining room at his home in Los Angeles. Inspired by 19th century French scenic wallpaper, the design features a fantastical landscape with tropical foliage, mountains, majestic skies, and White’s trademark painted words.