at Marty Walker Gallery through may 5th
by Todd Camplin
Across the South, the bold letters of “See Ruby Falls,” are painted on barns surrounded by serene
landscapes. I can’t help but think Tennessee native Wayne White was somehow influenced by
these ancient signs when he started his word art paintings. Even if not directly, I would argue these
iconic ads layered over the landscape seeped into his subconscious, because the moment I
discovered he was from the South, those immortal words popped in my head. Raised in a state
just north of him, I remember seeing a few in my travels. I think even Johnny Cash wrote a song
that plays on the words.
|© 2007-2012 moderndallas.net. - all rights reserved.
|Wayne White’s thrift store prints he buys with fancy frames are just the beginning of his relevant
approach to painting. His painted words are often crass or jolting with incredibly humorous
content. The work in this show is moving further into storytelling, rather than a quick witted
phrasing. Once again, I see the Southern influence of drawing out stories to “paint” a fuller
picture. Where as, I see the quick wit paintings influenced by him working in TV one liner and
sound bite culture. Personally, I am interested to see where White might take this more
|When I dropped by to see the show, it was a few hours before opening night. They were taking
pictures of the installation painting, so I didn’t fully appreciate the work until I turned around
as I was leaving and the image nearly hit me in the face with the words jetting out like movie
credits. The background was mostly sky with a rural landscape and I am pretty sure I saw a
barn in the corner. The words are something you have to read for yourself, but the 3D text is
very attractive and has a sign painted graphic look.
|, So Long Losers! Hey Guys I'm Back!, 2008, acrylic on offset lithograph, 24 x 52 inches.
Copyright Wayne White. Courtesy Marty Walker Gallery, Dallas, TX.
|One thing I think is new about White is that he, like a few other artists, is tackling humor head
on. Historically, Modernism took on society norms through subversion and many Post-Moderns
artists made in roads through irony, but theirs were often cruel ridicule rather than direct
handling of humor. I think the cracks in High Art began with second generation Pop artists
who were many times creating just fun images. But the important task of using humor as a
meaning and means of creating art images wasn’t really breached until recently. White might
be a vanguard to something new. The visual artists are coming late to an idea playwrights
have known for millennia, comedy has enduring power.
|All An Act, 2005, acrylic on offset lithograph, 18 x 22 inches. Copyright Wayne White.
Courtesy Marty Walker Gallery, Dallas, TX
|Wayne White's "I Say A Lot Of Things" exhibition at Marty Walker Gallery. photos by: Clay Grier, 2012.
|Wayne White, 3 OR 4 OF US SITTING AROUND THE BASEMENT AT SUNSET: RED SKY AND THE MUSTY FREON SMELL THE
ROOM GETS AFTER THE A/C IS TURNED OFF FOR THE DAY. STARTING TO FEEL SUNNY FROM THE LITTLE SQUARES OF PAPER
ON OUR TONGUES, 2012, acrylic on offset lithograph