The WBP complete their mission. Sisyphus has pushed the cube to the top his metaphorical hill. People come from all around to witness the artifacts and documentation of his cross country labor. The show a success, the WBP will now drink of the fruits and barley.
Oh, and here is the entire essay for the show.
White. Clean. Blank. Open. Get your whites whiter. Brighten that smile. It
is the commercial colour of enlightenment. It is a lonely palette waiting
for input on where to go and how to change. It is empty – nothing, with
the promise of becoming everything. The WhiteBoxPainters (WBP) explore
just that by using the white box as a symbolic container - enveloping
time, space and audience.
In performance, black is often the background of choice, connoting an open
yet finite space, with nooks and hiding places just beyond the reach of
the stage light. It is adaptable, yet permanent and encourages the
imagination. Conversely, a performative white makes its guests vulnerable
at every turn. Despite being filled with optimism, a white box cannot keep
a secret, showing traces of where it’s been. An interesting dichotomy
comes in that white is also a world of possibility - without boundaries -
considerably more ethereal than it’s counterpart fade to black. A white
box, then, is a contradiction offering the freedom to do anything on
nothing – which can be as soothing or as paralyzing an invitation as the
blank page or empty canvas.
The WBP are interested in creating installations that are temporary, but
completely engaging, asking any and all people who cross its path to
participate for a passing moment or, perhaps, a more intense experience.
In the past, they have created life-size versions of the games we knew as
children among them a labyrinth, hopscotch and chess. We may be pawns in
these games – not belonging to the artists, rather to our surroundings -
and the white boxes provide an escape route where we can analyze our daily
routines and evolution as members of society. It might be obvious to state
that these interactive installations are fun, not only for the
participants who get to play, but also for the artists who, once they have
completed the space, reverse the gaze and become the voyeurs.
“Sisyphus” finds the artists pushing a giant white cube through many
different landscapes on their journey to Calgary. As with the Greek myth –
where a young man is condemned to an eternity of pushing a boulder to the
top of a mountain, only to have it roll back down again – futility and
monotony are the name of the game, yet the WhiteBoxPainters show their
sense of humor by inviting us to watch parts of their seemingly laborious
process. A classic(al) case of the journey being more important than the
destination, the action of hauling a giant white cube can represent not
only our daily routines and burdens, but the framework of games and the
repetition of imagination. Though the WBP build transient installations,
the impact can be lasting. The specific attention of the public may only
span a few minutes during the creation/execution process, yet the exploit
of carrying this box will no doubt evoke an idea or memory for some, days
after the event took place.
White is the colour of the artists’ props and costumes, it is the tone
used in their work and it is the shade of their intentions, which are
clear, yet malleable. Each member of the group, comprised of Brent
Budsberg, Mark Escribano and Shana McCaw, takes on a different role within
the installations and regardless of whether they are the instigator,
impressionist, conductor or witness – they each have a character to play
in these creations.
White boxes are everywhere and The WhiteBoxPainters present this emblem in
its many forms and use it to get everybody around them to engage in art,
life and mythology – all the while thinking inside / around / under /
through the box.
Jane McCullough, 2006