Arts+Leisure presents Natalie White, Introspection, an exhibition of recent Polaroid transfer self-portraits by Natalie White. Exploring the meaning of the “muse” and her own identity as an artist and prolific model for other artists, the works on display question the reciprocal inter-relationship between artist and subject as well as the material mechanics of the Polaroid photographic process. Focusing solely on her face and hands, every image is a concentrated manifestation of expression, personality, and individuality, heightened by the large scale of the prints and the dramatic tenebrism of their play of light and shadow. White emphasizes the physical aberrations and abstractions formed by the printing process, resulting in diaphanous, richly layered composites of diverse strokes and textures.
First gaining international attention as a young model for a host of European fashion magazines, Natalie White’s work has been defined by a strong collaborative drive. White has a sharp instinct for and intuitive understanding of interpersonal dynamics and observation that is reflected in her own self-portraits. Despite her gentle, restrained poses and expressions, the Polaroids are both testaments of self-affirmation and intensely intimate, diaristic views of the artist, filtered through her own photographic technique. Many of the distortions in the prints harmonize with facial creases and skin textures, unifying the cartography of the face with White’s fluid, expressive attitude towards the photographic printing process.
Variations in color harmonies and tonal patterns inflect a melancholic and atmospheric emotionality; the muted magenta and teal hues of Untitled II, Untitled V, and Untitled VII evoke an altogether different mood than the other self-portraits in the series, such as Untitled IX and Untitled III. The artist is uniquely attuned to the ways in which subtle changes in pose can project emotion, and she employs them to maximal effect in Untitled VIII, where the ambiguity of her pose is both captivating and riddling. Sheathing her features in a dark patch of shadows, White further complicates the viewer’s reading of the image, firmly asserting her individual and emotional autonomy.
Natalie White is a provocative and progressive feminist and artist, first known for her contributions as a “muse” for many of today’s art and fashion luminaries. Working primarily with large scale, double exposed Polaroids, she has collaborated creatively with artists such as Peter Beard, George Condo, Olivier Zahm, Michael Dweck, Will Cotton, Spencer Tunick, and Sean Lennon. She has exhibited throughout the United States in both solo and group exhibitions, and is a leader in female empowerment and self-affirmation through art. Natalie also works as an activist for women’s rights.
Natalie White : Introspection
May 22 – July 7, 2019
Arts + Leisure
1571 Lexington Avenue
New York NY 10029