Gigantic collage of thoughtful matter, or “just” a matter of design?

Pae White, a Southern California artist, has a new show at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona. The title is “Lisa, Bright and Dark”. She works in different mediums and I was tickled by the description of her work as an amplification of ‘the “artfulness” of everyday things, to use her term.’ She layers the familiar in complex ways that sometimes evoke ancient pattern-making and also remind me of the surface manipulations of architects like Herzog and DeMeuron. But the designy aspect of things also seems to add some questions about whether there is any conceptual depth to the work. Is there any content? Should there be? The columnist Richard Nilsen questioned it in this review. But in any case, since what is perhaps nearest and dearest to our hearts are collages, I thought I’d show you a gigantic one she is showing in this show. 369 inches long? Can a tapestry made with collage techniques even qualify as a collage any more? Well, judge for yourselves…

Pae White, “Tapestry/reds,” 2005, cut paper collage, 42 x 369 inches

Pae White, Tapestry/red, (detail), 2005, cut paper collage, 42 x 369 inches. Courtesy of the artist and greengrassi, London. © Pae White.

(also cross-posted in my blog javier.est)

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