Pae White is a Los Angeles-based American mixed-media artist who works with yarn, pieces of mirrors, tapestry, ceramics, scarves, glass, and even tin-foil in site-specific installations. Working with fabrication techniques on large-scale projects, she plans and executes ideas that she archives in scrapbooks of photographs and ephemera. Her work is concerned with shifting associations of familiar objects as she has been “drawn to the temporary, the fleeting, to the ephemera of everyday life.”
White attended Scripps College and graduated in 1985. She received an M.F.A. from Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design in 1991.
One of her projects was made in 2004 for the Hammer Museum, which consisted of thousands of hand-cut orbs of paper suspended on string. In 2009, she was featured in the Venice Biennale with her“Weaving, Unsung” where she transformed a section of the 13th century Arsenale, the site of the naval industry in Renaissance Venice, into an imaginary aviary with encrusted chandeliers and a dropped ceiling made of string.
Earlier she made a tent city the size of a football field at Art Basel Miami with mutating sculpture that changed at nightfall. At the 2010 Whitney Biennial her “Still, Untitled” was a 30 foot smoke tapestry with smoke unfurling against a rich black background. Her use of smoke as a motif – with its random curves and shades of grey and white – is found in numerous works from this time. One of these works, “Smoke Sequence #6,” is a Jacquard tapestry and was purchased by the Palm Springs Art Museum.
A curtain she designed for the New Opera House in Oslo, Norway is an example of White’s use of unconventional materials with its dazzling abstract design fashioned from a supersize image of crinkled aluminum foil.
For the last two years White has been working on two semi-permanent installations for street-side escalators for Los Angeles’s Beverly Center shopping center. “Moonsets for a Sunrise” is made of more than 70,000 pieces of tile glazed in more than 100 colors that catch the morning sun. The metallic glaze of the tiles, set against a midnight blue backdrop, shifts color as a viewer ascends the escalator. “Day for Night for Day” is made of all-white neon shapes to create colors of pink, peach, blue, or yellow. Both works are meant to evoke light as it is experienced in the natural world.
Her most recent work is a site-specific mobile for the thirty-foot high atrium of the San Jose Museum of Art. It is a glittering, shape-shifting orb consisting of shiny, colorful stainless steel disks dominated by hues of gold, silver, and rose.
White has shown in group exhibits in Istanbul, Milan, Turin, and Paris. She has had solo shows in Brussels, Berlin, London, Venice, and Milan. Her work has been exhibited at the Hammer Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim, Palm Springs Art Museum, Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Tate Modern, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.