Forget

Jennie White
  • Date: 1989
  • Medium: oil on linen
  • Dimensions: 66 x 54 cm
  • Credit Line: Gift of the Blackburn Group Inc., London, Ontario, 1997
  • Permanent Collection ID: 97.A.422

Forget

Jennie White

As an art student in the early 80s, Windsor-born artist Jennie White experienced a creative crisis: “In an art history class,” she recalled in 2005, “I remember a teacher saying ‘painting is dead.’ My life as an artist had no meaning for a while.”1 The six paintings that comprise Forget (1989) attest that White overcame this crisis to discover her own voice within the medium. In the 1980s, she also began expanding her artistic practice to include other media: for instance, she created “drawings” by perforating paper with pins and modified found objects to produce unusual, small-scale installations. Small Wonders (2005), a mid-career survey exhibition organized by the Art Gallery of Windsor, amply proved the versatility and resiliency of White’s artistic vision.

One of White’s enduring subjects has been what she calls the “paradoxical and often precarious nature of everyday life.”2 This may mean foregrounding a shared human experience that is, at the same time, intensely personal (as in Forget), or using “ordinary” objects like dolls, buttons, and figurines that are mass-produced but can be invested with personal meaning. White asks her viewers to look closely at what can easily be lost, as without memory one loses their identity in a very literal way: the small details, the fleeting emotions, and even the questions that too often are stifled in the rush to keep up with the frenetic pace of 21st-century life.

 

1. quote in David Scott, “The Big Intrigue of Small Wonders,” The Alumni Gazette, 19 July 2005, http://communications.uwo.ca/com/alumni_gazette/alumni_stories/the_big_intrigue_of_small_wonders_20050719438367/

2. quoted in The Naming of the Parts exhibition publication, Chatham: Thames Art Gallery, 2004.