Artist: Brendan Fowler
Venue: Mathew, New York
Exhibition Title: Portraits
Date: March 4 – April 30, 2016
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Mathew, New York
Brendan Fowler is a Los Angeles-based musician and artist. Having performed and recorded under the moniker BARR, as well as with bands such as Tracy and the Plastics and The New England Roses, he is also the founder of two record labels: Some Ware and DM8H493.
For his first show at Mathew NYC, the artist presents a new series of portraits. Employing industrial embroidery machines, Fowler has transposed digital portraits of twelve musicians onto canvas, with the machine interpreting the image file and determining its output – in the process generating an entirely new form of automated painting.
Industrial embroidery is deeply rooted in the music industry and is often used in the production of merchandise that incorporates imagery such as band logos, LP-covers, and song titles in its design. In this way, marketing photography and textiles production have played a key role in the history of music distribution. Musicians must adhere to the imperative to produce imagery that accompanies their practices, oftentimes in the form of reproductions of the artists themselves. It is this unique form of visual communication that Fowler references in these new works, examining the centrality of portraiture to the dynamics of music distribution and promotion – the troubling task of visualizing the immaterial character of the musical product itself.
As in the visual arts, in which the product and its maker become more and more indistinguishable as the logic of celebrity penetrates the modes of reception and value-production of each artwork, the representation of the musician is an inevitably integral component of each musical release and its potential success. Blurring the line between product and producer, Fowler investigates the dynamics of image-distribution under the conditions of the contemporary cultural industry.
Link: Brendan Fowler at Mathew