Noisy Blushes embraces visual ambiguity. It simultaneously reflects light and color yet denies its material presence. Although viewable from a multitude of angles, its essence remains fugitive, ever-changing.—Pae White
Pae White’s Noisy Blushes (2020) is a meditation on movement and time, light and color, material presence and the elusiveness of form. Commissioned by SJMA, this site-specific sculpture soars within the Museum’s thirty-foot high atrium and transforms its entrance into an experiential passageway, delivering a sublime experience for visitors. Comprising 12,000 silkscreened, electroplated and polished stainless-steel hexagonal disks arranged into the sphere and suspended from 504 custom-colored cables, Noisy Blushes is suspended behind a glass façade, allowing it to scatter millions of reflections throughout the Museum’s spacious Harold Witkin Convocation Area and Frank L. and Edna E. Di Napoli Skybridge Gallery. Suspended between SJMA’s 19th-century historic wing and modern addition, the sculpture links the outside with the inside, the past with the present while its colors and design fluctuate with the time of day, the seasons, and as the viewer changes their vantage point.
Born in 1963 in Pasadena, California, Pae White celebrates the mundane, the overlooked, and the ephemeral. Transforming humble materials into exhilarating experiences that defy logic yet remain oddly familiar, her alluring work suggests that things may not be as they appear. Tapestry masquerades as architecture. Typography becomes an interface for sculpture and installation. Paper clay emerges as a vessel for painting and embroidery.
In creating her dazzling mobiles or hanging pieces, White looks to the natural world—flocks of birds, schools of fish, drifting clouds—to produce sculptures without volume and to find order in chaos, freeze framing the elusive found in nature through a geometry. She has experimented with different materials: paper, glass, mirror, stainless steel, and most recently with electroplated steel cut and silk-screened at a factory that produces metal business cards.
Selected from 10,000 options designed with custom software, Noisy Blushes is one of the artist’s largest hanging pieces and her most colorful. Sixty-eight colors sweep through the sculpture through an effect White calls a “blush.” Hues of gold, silver, and rose dominate to acknowledge the entwined histories of quicksilver mining in the town of New Almaden in south San José and the California Gold Rush of the High Sierras. White incorporated a few miniaturized versions of large-scale, geometric wall drawings by minimalist artist Sol LeWitt with designs of her own making, imbuing her sculpture with a multitude of references that addresses many things at once.
PAE WHITE ON BEAUTY AND THE POWER OF ART
Pae White’s monumental hanging piece, Noisy Blushes is a gift to the City of San José and a beacon of light offering a moment of reverie to all who see it. Watch artist Pae White talk about what art and beauty mean to her and in her art, particularly in the period of Covid-19.
PAE WHITE’S INSTALLATION TIMELAPSE
Pae White’s Noisy Blushes is the most ambitious commission in SJMA’s history. Let’s run the numbers to prove it: 12,000 disks, 1,129 cubic feet, 504 cables, 120 funders, 68 colors, 9 days of installation, 8 exhibition team members, 3 scissor lifts, and 1 artist.
PAE WHITE’S NOISY BLUSHES: A BIRD’S-EYE VIEW
Get up close and personal with a bird’s-eye view of Pae White’s Noisy Blushes! See multitudes of colors and patterns emerge as the camera moves around, above, and below the sculpture.
PAE WHITE ON THE ARTISTIC PROCESS
Artist Pae White offers insight into her artistic process, the evolution of her hanging pieces, and the unexpected and delightful surprises that occur only when works of art are finally installed.
Commissioned by the San José Museum of Art, in honor of its 50th anniversary, with funds provided by the Lipman Family Foundation, the Acquisitions Committee, Diane Jonte-Pace and David Pace, the Council of 100, the Richard A. Karp Charitable Foundation, and Tad J. Freese and Brook Hartzell, with additional support provided by the Docent Council, Toby and Barry Fernald, Evelyn and Rick Neely, Yvonne and Mike Nevens, C. Christine Nichols, Dorene Masterman, and Shauna Mika and Richard Callison.
‘Noisy Blushes’ by Pae White, San Francisco Chronicle Datebook
September 25, 2020