You Destroy Every Special thing I Make, Installation
Western Exhibitions is thrilled to present Joey Fauerso’s second solo show with the gallery, Now Paint Something Temporary. Her new series of figurative paintings on raw unstretched canvas created during artist residencies, including MacDowell and Yaddo in 2021 and 2022, continues her use of humor and theatricality to shift and subvert traditional gender roles and genres within Western art. In this show themes of waiting, confinement, leisure, pleasure and escape manifest in dense and playful ways-languid nude men recline in groups, gathering for no particular purpose but to be admired, women scramble and stride to escape their fixed position within the compositions. Created from layered and un-layered acrylic paint, her bodies and forms interact inquisitively, somehow simultaneously cohabitating and threatening one another. An interdisciplinary artist working in painting, installation, video and performance, Fauerso’s subject matter is both personal and political, centering on her experiences as a woman, a mother and as someone who grew up in a Transcendental Meditation community, complex roles central to her expansive practice. Now Paint Something Temporary opens with a free public reception from 5 to 8pm on Friday, November 4 and runs through December 17, 2022. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 6pm
Past bodies of work have been solely black and white. Here, the use of raw canvas as a substrate brings a visual warmth while harkening to an earlier era. Men lounge together in a dance studio; laze near a pond surrounded by logs, rocks and foliage; and enact mysterious rituals of physical strength. The epic painting Exit Plan unfurls across the wall like a scroll. In it women cinematically march and crawl across the picture plane, making their escape from the fixed confines of still lives and landscapes, a motif that Fauerso likens to “women escaping the patriarchy.”
After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, Fauerso decided, as a young mother of two young boys, to stop painting in oil. She invented a new subtractive method of painting with acrylic using squeegees, kitchen spatulas, and other household items in place of a traditional paintbrush. The process is reductive in nature—most of the lines and outlines of figures and shapes are created by scaping through areas of wet paint to the original substrate of canvas or paper. She thinks of the paintings as two-dimensional carvings that also become indexical records of the textures of the ground.
Also on view, in the gallery’s bookshop immediately outside of Gallery 2, will be two videos, ‘Warm Ups’ from 2022 and the 2019 piece You Destroy Every Special Thing I Make that began during a residency in Berlin, with her children in tow. Inspired by and titled after something her younger son, Paul, said in tears to his older brother, Brendan, after his elaborate block fort was destroyed, Fauerso used this exchange as a prompt to begin a two year process of building elaborate set-ups with her sons and others and destroying them while video-taping the process along the way. The result is a visual ballet that humorously captures the cycles of creation and destruction in art, life, and parenthood and the importance of letting go. Framed stills of the four channel video from a print portfolio produced in 2022 by Hound & Hare Press will accompany the videos, as will a sculptural installation of painted objects-disembodied heads, gestural works on paper and graphic abstractions.
The Director of Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, Veronica Roberts, writes in an upcoming Joey Fauerso monograph:“Fauerso’s practice adeptly bridges the personal and political. Her art seems both intent upon making us uncomfortable, while also comforting us. It offers an artist and mother’s feminism as a core strength that encourages us to defy assumptions placed upon us, to nurture the impulse to make and collect interesting things, to embrace intuition, collaboration, chaos, and risk, to make whatever is getting in the way of our creative work be part of our work, and to not see our lives as fixed or locked into place, but as spaces we can constantly remake and re-imagine.”
Joey Fauerso’s work is in the permanent collections of the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin; San Antonio Museum of Art, McNay Art Museum and Ruby City, all in San Antonio, TX; the New Mexico State University Museum and has been exhibited at MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; The Drawing Center, New York; Bemis Center for Contemporary Art; Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas. Fauerso has been the recipient of multiple grants and residencies, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in the Fine Arts in 2022, the Joan Mitchell Grant for Painters and Sculptors, the Sustainable Arts Foundation Grant, the Open Sessions residency at The Drawing Center in New York, the Golden Foundation Grant, Dallas Museum of Art Kimberough Grant, the RAIR Artist in Residence Grant, Yaddo, MacDowell, and Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. Fauerso was raised in a Transcendental Meditation community in Fairfield, Iowa. She received her BFA from the University of Iowa, and her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and lives and works in San Antonio, Texas.