Wayne White and Woodrow White’s “Ass Kicking Contest” Turns Gallery into Playhouse

by Jessica RossPosted on

Woodrow White brings his father Wayne White’s art to life at the opening of “Ass Kicking Contest.”

This past weekend, Heron Arts debuted “Ass Kicking Contest” (previewed here), a father-son art show from acclaimed artist Wayne White and his son, Woodrow White. A complete spectacle of installation and fine art, the duo presented their respective bodies of work alongside a few massive puppets. The result was a varied display of kitsch and charm. Always finding ways to insert humor into his work, you can see Wayne’s excitement in the large-scale puppets that inhabit the space. They draw back to his time as set designer for Pee Wee’s Playhouse, where he received three Emmys for his innovative work. Bringing him back to his roots as a DIY craftsman and puppet-maker, Wayne’s figures range everywhere from a cubist bust resting along a mirror to an operational 15ft reclining cowboy trying to get his boot on. Visitors were encouraged to help the distressed cowboy and pull his string to be of assistance. Behind the puppets are Wayne’s signature word paintings of such phrases as “Hoo Ha” and “Tuff Shit”, while another alcove is occupied with his loose sketches and smaller works.

Father-son artist duo Wayne White (right) and Woodrow White (left) at the opening of their duo exhibition at Heron Arts.

At the other end of the space is art by Wayne’s son, Woodrow White. A distinct painter all his own, Woodrow grew up among movie sets in Hollywood and attended the California College of the Arts in Oakland, where he recently graduated. While his work has comedic value, Woodrow approaches his painting with a more dry sense of humor. Bigfoot (or some very close relative) is a common theme in his work, presenting him in scenarios that could not possibly be. Caught in the midst of modern dilemmas, like handling a smartphone, Woodrow’s main character is a kind of representational tool for the everyday experience with a clever theatrical twist, of course.

With the help of curators Tova Lobatz (formerly of White Walls Gallery) and Noah Antieau (of Red Truck Gallery), and former Facebook developer Mark Slee, the event was created as a kind of artistic restitution for all the threatened arts programs and spaces within the Bay Area. “Ass Kicking Contest” is on view until August 8th by appointment only.

Photo courtesy of Heron Arts gallery and photographer L Herrada-Rios.

Photo courtesy of Heron Arts gallery and photographer L Herrada-Rios.

Photo courtesy of Heron Arts gallery and photographer L Herrada-Rios.

Word paintings by Wayne White:

Paintings by Woodrow White:

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