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pae white

Material Mutters

The Power Plant, Toronto
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pae white: material mutters


A major survey of Pae White’s exhilarating oeuvre, featuring the newly commissioned monumental tapestry, Sea Beast.

Curated by Gregory Burke

American artist Pae White’s exhilarating oeuvre roams across different material forms – including expansive sculptures, textiles and animation – with a sense of glorious abandon. In examining the intersections of art, design, applied arts, and architecture while ignoring traditional boundaries between them, White encourages viewers to take a closer look at familiar objects, processes and spaces. Simultaneously evoking the material and immaterial, White’s major exhibition at The Power Plant will survey her work from the past five years in a range of media, with a particular focus on her monumental tapestries.

A brilliant manipulator of materials, White has become internationally known for her striking site-specific sculptural projects that take their points of departure from architecture. Her city-block-sized Art Village created for the 2009 Art Basel Miami Beach fair was commissioned specifically to provide a functional social space for talks and parties. White’s temporary cityscape of “free-form monochromes” of scaffold structures covered in fabric became a temporary glowing village on the oceanfront.

Alongside Canadian artist Ian Wallace, Pae White is the most recent participant of the Commissioning Program of The Power Plant. In 2004, she began creating massive tapestries, ambitious artisanal undertakings that used heavily digitally manipulated photos of crumpled aluminum foil, plumes of smoke and dynamic image collages as their content. The sublime Still, Untitled, featured at the 2010 Whitney Biennial, stages what White describes as the cotton’s “dream of becoming something other than itself” by contrasting the immaterial smoke with the tactile physicality of the cotton fabric. White’s commission at The Power Plant will be a brand new tapestry featuring an image that suggests a viscous substance not unlike oil dispersing in water.

The commission will be shown alongside a selection of past tapestries of epic scale as well as a series of smaller works on paper. These works on paper appear to be drawings of smoke but are in fact carvings into pigmented paper accomplished with a laser. The exhibition will also include the 2009 video projections Dying Oak – Elephant and Wild Raspberry Bush – Ballerina, two of three animations White created using noninvasive data collection and mapping procedures to produce three-dimensional scans of different flora. The scans were then used as source material for digital animations created by a group of visual effects artists and animators.