Tomorrow night, American artist Wayne White will exhibit alongside his son, Woodrow White, for the first time in San Francisco at Heron Arts Gallery. In 1986, Wayne White earned international acclaim as the set and puppet designer of TV series Pee Wee’s Playhouse, for which he won three Emmy awards. “Ass Kicking Contest” brings the same slapstick and backwards charm that will be familiar to fans of his work on the show. Originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee and now living and working in Los Angeles, he credits his Southern roots for his unique take on Americana and D.I.Y. style. In addition to witty word paintings like “Hoo Ha” and works on paper, he will also present animated puppets. “Artists are all kinds of puppets themselves,” Wayne has said, who likens art to magic that offers people an escape from the real world. For the show’s centerpiece, he has assembled a towering fifteen foot kinetic sculpture that will interact with visitors.
Left to right: Wayne White with his wife, Mimi Pond, and son Woodrow White.
Woodrow White follows his father’s comical sensibility and narrative with a portrait series starring Bigfoot. In his artist statement, he says, “Through the realm of kitsch, such as museums and movie sets, I aim to connect these subjects to a conversation about painting and illusory art, at a time when all trust in images has been lost.” The power of creating illusion, whether it be through sets, puppets, or painting, connects both artists as a central theme in their art. Their exhibition forgets any limitations of the medium and invites us to accept fantasy – with just the right balance of playful and twisted. Take a look at more photos as they prepare for the show below, courtesy of the gallery.