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 Cognitive, Conscious, and Observation evoke an altogether different mood than the other self-portraits in the series, such as Examine and Testimony. 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 Memory, 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.