Artist: Brendan Fowler
Venue: Richard Telles, Los Angeles
Exhibition Title: New Portraits
Date: January 7 – February 11, 2017
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of the artist and Richard Telles, Los Angeles. Photos by Marten Elder.
The new works by Brendan Fowler, each a portrait of a friend or colleague, are neither paintings or photographs. They appear vaguely hand-made, yet each lock of thread was plotted by a face in a digital file. For his second exhibition with the gallery, Fowler has produced a series of embroidered portraits, spare in detail and intimate in scale. Like his previous pictures, he has executed them with computerized embroidery machines, but this time working with a limited selection of colored threads. The results have reduced the face to its bare essentials, acting as nods to each person who has taken part in the artists’s life and various projects. Some of which include his newly cofounded clothing line / record label / dance party with Cali Thornhill DeWitt entitled “Some Ware”, and his own fashion label / artist edition / recycling project, “Election Reform.” Focusing on our woefully flawed electoral system—otherwise ignored by mass media every four years—Fowler began his line with the intention of spurring dialog. To underscore his critique, he attaches readers to each garment containing essays on the subject by various authors. In a transitive gesture, Fowler metabolizes elements of cast-off garments from “Election Reform” (whose materials in turn were sourced from used clothing stores) back into his wall-based portraits. Here, Fowler dovetails different
modes of production with activism for two spheres of influence: the rarified ‘art world’ and its outside, depending on one’s perspective.
As if to further emphasize a dialectical and human component into his portraits, Fowler has sewn these cast-offs over his washes of paint on canvas. And almost in spite of this sensitivity, these aspects are not in service of psychological insights into each human subject, instead insisting on the fluidity between the personal and the community, the industrial and the artisanal. Each work is unique, yet functions as a coordinate in a map of collective action. For him, the space between the personal and political is blurred, forging an evolving group of projects inside and out of economic exchange.
Brendan Fowler’s recent solo exhibitions were held at Capital, San Francisco in 2015 and at Mathew, New York in 2016. Recent group exhibitions include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles in 2016, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2013. Fowler also was included in “All the Instruments Agree: An Exhibition or a Concert” at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles in 2015. He lives and works in Los Angeles.