Manhattan-based artist and activist Natalie White presents “The Bleach Paintings,” a solo exhibition of new works opening at Freight + Volume. This marks Natalie White art eleventh solo exhibition in New York City, and the first solo presentation of her paintings.
White’s work is candid and autobiographical, often highlighting the complex inter-relationship between artist and subject. Through a combination of intimate material processes and raw emotion, Natalie White art portrays a form of self-expression that puts lived experience at the forefront of her art.
The current exhibition marks the debut of a new series of paintings produced by White during the Covid-19 pandemic. Without access to traditional materials while in lockdown, she turned to what she had available, utilizing bleach as a painting medium and her own bed sheets as surface material. Created out of necessity and compulsion, this uninhibited process involved hand-ripping elastic seams from sheets and duct taping the cloth to a glass door before extemporaneously applying bleach to the fabric with a paintbrush.
White’s use of bedsheets as a base surface speaks to an underlying vulnerability consistently present within her work. “The Bleach Paintings” serve as a site of self-confrontation. Each stroke of bleach, whether tedious or gestural, inscribes on the surface a reflection of the artist’s identity, revealing an energetic impulsivity which continues to evolve and manifest itself in the shift from representation to abstraction.
The Bleach Paintings comprise five distinct bodies of work, each with its own process and subject matter:
● Flag Paintings— a common theme within White’s work, the flag paintings play with patriotic imagery to empower messages about equality.
● Confinement Paintings— the Confinement series evolved from a methodology White developed that involved painting tiny thin lines over-and-over again for hours, revealing a therapeutic catharsis in the repetition.
● Energy Paintings— a set of purely abstract self-portraits, indicative of the artist’s mental state, created by vigorously applying long expressive brushstrokes with each piece evolving spontaneously until it finds its form.
● Galaxy and Transmissions from Space Paintings— these series highlight a control and handling of bleach as a medium, not seen in earlier works. While still intensely emotive, White begins to incorporate more formal elements into the pieces such as a crude color theory created from fabric dye and contoured mark making.
“The Bleach Paintings” will be on view at 97 Allen Street Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-6pm, through June 27 or by appointment.
ABOUT NATALIE WHITE ART
Feminist by nature, a riot by habit. Natalie White is a provocative and progressive feminist and artist, first known for her contribution as a “Muse” to the work of many of today’s art and fashion luminaries. Her creative drive and unapologetic spirit have led her to collaborative ventures with artists such as Peter Beard, George Condo, Olivier Zahm, Michael Dweck, Will Cotton, Spencer Tunick, and Sean Lennon.
Growing up in a small town in West Virginia, Natalie first gained attention internationally as a young model, featured on the covers of numerous European Magazines. Never one to shy away from the risque, she was also the first American to receive a feature spread in French Playboy (2010).
In 2013, at the “Who Shot Natalie White?” show, amidst a retrospective of 25 different artists for whom she has been a muse, Natalie debuted herself as a solo artist. Through a series of double exposed Giant Polaroid nudes, she redefined herself as “her own muse.”
As a leader in female empowerment and self-affirmation through art, Natalie also works in activations for women’s rights. She has performed at the “Art Basel Miami Women in Art Benefit” in collaboration with the Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth Sackler Center, as well as the “Natalie White for Equal Rights” show at the Hole in 2015 and a 2016 follow-up at the WhiteBox Foundation for the Arts. In July 2016, She led a 16 day, 250-mile march from NYC to DC promoting the fight for inclusion of The Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.