reviews > Durham, NC

5/6/10 1:11 PM

All the things in our world exist surrounded by all the other things. They gain and lose and change their meaning accordingly. Perhaps the most salient example of this is language, as individual words work together in phrases and sentences in order to communicate. A word on its own means very little, but a word surrounded by other words can mean almost anything. Amy White seems to be getting at this structuralist understanding in her “Text/Objects/Painting” installations, which string together videos, paintings, found objects, bottled studio water and framed text fragments. Some of these items are able to speak on their own—an oil on wood painting like “Joseph.001.B” says much with its exposed knots and grain, its swirls and blotches of grey and white paint—while others are not—smoked-up bidi cigarettes and unmodified balls of store-bought twine remain mute. It all works very much like language, where some words are banal and adaptable, made to be placed in between more expressive ones. Hence the twine and butts which are necessary in order to pull together two compelling abstract paintings with a banal riverscape and bits of writing. Like language too, at least in some of its most poetic and abbreviated forms, those banal little words, brought together, sometimes turn into something unexpected. Here twine and bidis do this: how else to notice that the latter, unlike any other cigarette out there, are held together with little pink strings?

—Lori Waxman