NEW ORLEANS, LA.- Jonathan Ferrara Gallery
announces the exhibition Junk Shot, new works by artist Skylar Fein. The exhibition opened on Saturday, October 1, in conjunction with the annual city-wide Art For Arts' Sake, the official opening of the arts season.
Skylar Fein's career has been on an upward trajectory since his first solo show in 2008, followed by his installation at Prospect.1 Biennial, a solo exhibition at New Orleans Museum of Art, appearances at VOLTA NY and PULSE Miami, a major installation in Chelsea and a group show at Ballroom Marfa.
In the wreckage of post-Katrina New Orleans, Skylar Fein found his calling as an artist, experimenting with color and composition using the detritus the hurricane left behind. His work soon became known for its pop sensibility as well as its hard-nosed politics. His first solo show, "The Skylar Fein Show," in May 2008 at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery sold out; he followed that up with "Remember the Upstairs Lounge," his Prospect.1 biennial installation. That show shined a spotlight on an overlooked piece of New Orleans history: a fire that swept through a French Quarter bar in 1973, killing everyone inside and sparking the gay rights movement in New Orleans. His installation walked visitors right through the swinging bar doors, and offered visual riffs on politics and sexuality circa 1973. The piece was praised in Artforum, Art In America, The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker, among others.
In late 2009, Fein had his first solo museum show, "Youth Manifesto," at the New Orleans Museum of Art. The exhibition was an ode to punk rock as a force for social and cultural upheaval. True to form, the opening reception was shut down by police responding to the look of the unlikely art-going crowd. A solo installation at VOLTA NY followed by PULSE Miami; further solidified Fein's presence on the national scene.
In 2010, the curatorial project No Longer Empty had Fein recreate his "Remember the Upstairs Lounge" installation in a vacant Chelsea space. The exhibition once again drew thousands of visitors and sparked further interest in his work. In 2011, Fein was featured in two major exhibitions, at Ballroom Marfa and at the new C24 Gallery in Chelsea.
Junk Shot reveals a decisive turn toward formalism, while extending the graphic innovation that has marked his earlier work. Fein's 70+ new pieces include stark figurative painting, geometric abstraction and Constructivist-flavored assemblage, as well as small aluminum sculptures.
The exhibition has so many ideas per square inch that it could be the result of a cage wrestling match staged by philosophers. The pieces make arguments concerning architecture, nuclear testing, horse racing, cocaine, war, the links between Futurism and fascism, masculinity, and the erotic philosophy of Georges Bataille -- and that's just for a start. Taken together the new work shows a sensibility that is intellectual, intimate, formally rigorous, occasionally obscene, and defiantly contemporary. The new work blends the sensibilities of proto-minimalism -- from Constructivism to Suprematism to early Motherwell -- with the graphic power of Pop. It's fresh new work that somehow harks back to the beginning of Modernism but is very much made for our current moment.
Skylar Fein was the recipient of a 2009 Joan Mitchell Foundation Award and his work is in several prominent collections, including The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, The Louisiana State Museum, The Birmingham Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art and collectors Beth Rudin DeWoody, Lance Armstrong, and Lawrence Benenson (MoMA).
Skylar Fein lives and works in New Orleans, LA.