The soft tactility of felt met the impenetrable aspirations of armor in Paul White’s Front Gallery exhibition Stitched. Two ‘protective’ suits - one mock-nuclear protection suit and one medieval suit of armor, both stitched from felt - evoked ideas of protection in relation to the everyday, attempting to isolate the body from outside dangers and activities whilst conveying a sense of vulnerability, absurdity and futility through the soft, pliable materials and method from which they are constructed. As well as these suits, the exhibition included a number of 2-D felt pieces, into which elaborate, stylised ‘wounds’ had been stitched. Inspired by children’s temporary tattoos which create the appearance of a wound on the skin, these works had been delicately and laboriously sewed, a continual process of piercing and covering which imitates skin and evokes ideas of interiority and violence. Stitched resulted from a culmination of the two years in which White lived in Los Angeles, undertaking a Masters program at California Institute of the Arts. As such, the works in the exhibition were informed by LA’s never ending layers, complications, surprises, and the artists’ navigation of this new terrain (both pre- and post-9/11), new but somehow familiar through filmic and popular culture.
Paul White currently lives and works in Melbourne. He was the recipient of a 2001 Anne and Gordon Samstag Scholarship, and in 2003 completed an MFA (Art) at California institute of the Arts, Los Angeles. Solo exhibitions include Untitled, Gallery D300, CalArts, Los Angeles 2003; Paul White Sews, Winslow Garage, Los Angeles 2002; and Untitled, The Lime Gallery, Los Angeles 2002. Group exhibitions include Home Sweet Home: Works from the Peter Fay Collection, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2003; We've Moved, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, USA 2003; and Emergence, Track 16, Bergamot Station, Los Angeles 2003.
Paul White: Stitched, 27 August – 18 September 2004, A5 catalogue, colour reproductions. 4 pages, $2.20