Our 2000 exhibition of Kansas City artist Susan White featured a main gallery floor installation piece.
From the press release: Thoughts stimulate or overwhelm. Ideas abound or confuse. Series, parallel, circular, compartmentalized, simultaneous, hierarchal; all apply. Our heads are filled with information. How do we respond to it? Deal with it? Add or subtract to it? Create it?
Susan White, like many of us, scribbles notes, writes reminders, makes to-do lists. She finds these ideas to be a progression, an army of thought soldiers marching through her mind, action figures, if you will, that energize and exhaust. For this installation, Ms. White constructed more than six hundred of these action figures. Each element (figure) is unique, made of dark brown wax, with legs of found twigs and branches. Each figure carries one of her lists, or notes or sketches. The installation suggested that each idea is set loose in a sea of other ideas to follow its course to conclusion.
A working title for the exhibition was "mental harassment." In the making, "Action Figures" emerged as a more apt title; the possibly negative becoming the positive. The more positive "action figures' implied that in the making, a kind of exorcism, or harnessing of the energy has occurred.
Susan White, Action Figures, installation view
Susan White, Action Figures, detail view of installation