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Wendel White: Manifest
February 4, 2021 - March 27, 2021Free
The Manifest portfolio consists of photographic representations of objects, documents, photographs, and books held in various public collections throughout the U.S. These repositories include various elements of material culture such as diaries, slave collars, human hair, a drum, souvenirs, and other objects, some with great significance and others simply quotidian representations of daily life in the history of the African American community. I am increasingly interested in the residual power of the past to inhabit these material remains. The ability of objects to transcend lives, centuries, and millennia, suggests a remarkable mechanism for folding time, bringing the past and the present into a shared space that is uniquely suited to artistic exploration.
Manifest is an effort to seek out the artifacts and material evidence of the American construct and representation of race. The histories of slavery, abolition, segregation, the U.S. Civil War, and the Civil Rights Era are a few of the narratives that emerge in these photographs. The content is remarkable, visual evidence of lives and events; however, I also intend the viewer to consider this informal reliquary as a survey of the impulse and motivation to preserve history, memory and to imbue the remnants of material culture with power.
Wendel A. White was awarded a BFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York and an MFA in photography from the University of Texas at Austin. White taught photography at the School of Visual Arts, NY; The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, NY; the International Center for Photography, NY; Rochester Institute of Technology; and is currently Distinguished Professor of Art at Stockton University. His work has received various awards and fellowships including a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Photography, three artist fellowships from the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, a photography grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and a New Works Photography Fellowship from En Foco Inc. His work is also represented in museum and corporate collections. White has served on the boards of various non-profit and public organizations including the Society for Photographic Education, Kodak Educational Advisory Council, NJ Save Outdoor Sculpture, New Jersey Black Culture and Heritage Foundation, the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, and the New Jersey Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Commission.