Carl Berg Gallery is pleased to present new paintings by Asad Faulwell in his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. Faulwell is a recent graduate from the Claremont Graduate School where he received his MFA last spring. He is a 2008 Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant recipient and has received fellowships from the Armory Center for the Art in Pasadena and Claremont Graduate University.
In his first exhibition at the gallery, Faulwell presents a new series of hybrid collage paintings that trace the development of political structures that form the modern day Middle East. Faulwell, whose maternal roots are from the Middle East, has chosen a subject matter not commonly depicted by American artists. His works engage the complex history of the Middle East through the visual mapping and portrayal of people and events.
Faulwell depicts this history with dense paintings that combine photo-based imagery with paint and other techniques. The intricate patterns he uses in his work are reminiscent of Islamic Art but he forms his own complex narrative through the interplay of various abstract and figurative elements. As his source material, Faulwell uses images from old books and magazines that depict the political leaders from Europe and the Middle East that dominated the politics of the region since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. He traces these leaders' spheres of influence in a pictorial representation that juxtaposes abstract and figurative imagery.
Faulwell's unique blend of abstraction, figuration, patterning, painting and collage form intense yet rhythmic works that are visually engaging from a distance yet attract the viewer to look closer. Upon closer inspection the complete narrative reveals itself as a mix of static photo portraits and smaller collage elements that move in all directions throughout the composition. The larger photo-portraits are icon-like and portray the leading political features of the time. The smaller photo-portraits are cut into flowerlike elements that are distributed throughout the canvas acting as both narrative and decorative parts within the composition. The larger icon-like portraits are surrounded by these cut collage elements in various patterns that emanate from them in all directions. These intricate patterns portray the various intersecting and colliding spheres of influence in the Middle East's recent history.
Faulwell's paintings are not per se political in nature but they serve more as a visual document of politics, its players and history.