Art Review: Exene Cervenka and Wayne White at Western Project

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“We’re Not the Jet Set,” the title of Exene Cervenka and Wayne White’s dual exhibition at Western Project, would seem a tad tongue in cheek, coming from a rock star (Cervenka is the lead singer, with John Doe, of the band X) and an Emmy-winning production designer (White worked on “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” in the 1980s). The sentiment, however, is clearly not ironic: Both are artists with an abiding affinity for Americana and a giddy addiction to the rhythms of the vernacular.

Cervenka makes small to mid-sized paper collages, primarily, from a seemingly bottomless reserve of photos, ticket stubs, vintage advertisements, bits of text, playing cards, and other odds and ends.

White is best known for the word paintings he composes across the surface of thrift store lithographs: clichéd pastoral landscapes emblazoned with looming block letters. Clever but repetitive, they’re happily supplemented here by a handful of found object sculptures, in which White’s winning sense of humor has freer reign.

Both are artists for whom the accumulation of images, from the popular to the obscure, appears to be an inveterate habit. They clearly have a lot of fun with them, and the fun is infectious in this bustling summer show.


Western Project, 3830 Main St., Culver City, (310) 838-0609, through Sept. 5. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

--Holly Myers

Above: Exene Cervenka, ‘Cry Fix’ Left, Wayne White ‘All That Fake Laughin for Nothin’