Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Art of Pae White

“Smoke Knows” from a 2009 exhibit

I’ve always found smoke to be endlessly fascinating. Aesthetically speaking, I’m completely enamored with it, from its undulating curls that spiral upward to the bluish hue it can take on in daylight or its fleeting lifespan yet seemingly endless supply.

I suppose it’s this interest that has drawn me to the recent works of Pae White who playfully explores the ephemerality of smoke. In massive tapestries that can measure up to 40 feet, White “[uses] heavily digitally manipulated photos of crumpled aluminum foil, plumes of smoke and dynamic image collages of collected scraps of image, pattern, color, and text as their content.”

The Whitney sums up her work best: “In 2006, White began creating tapestries with photographic images of crumpled aluminum foil and plumes of smoke. Still, Untitled, one of her most recent smoke tapestries, stages what White describes as the cotton’s “dream of becoming something other than itself” by contrasting an image of something immaterial with the physicality of fabric. This vision of an ephemeral moment suspended in space—the slight and fleeting unfurling of smoke monumentalized in the heroic tradition of tapestries—transforms an everyday image into a seductive evocation of transience and longing.

Check out a few of her recent works including some from her recent exhibition Material Mutters that just wrapped up at the Power Plant on January 2nd.

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