Contemporaneous Extension


Joe Fyfe: Formal Third-World Assimilations

wood/cloth/color, Joe Fyfe’s current exhibition at Graham & Sons,  provides a thorough insight into the artist’s firmly abstract repertoire. The show considers recent sculpture, photography, and fabric paintings as reflections of his journeys to the third-world. Fyfe summons each village’s emotional and bodily accessibility emphatically. Each piece requires time and patience to decipher the stunning composition and devour each sensual component.

A handful of photographs illuminate Fyfe’s instinctual recognition of inadvertently artful compositions. ‘Palermo, 2000′ (2008) epitomizes the quiet beauty of these shots, announcing Fyfe’s attention to vivid colors, robust layering, and patterns. Despite his photographs’ natural depth, the combination of these motifs flattens the image and echos the tension of his fabric paintings. ‘Psar Thmei’ (2011), for example, is a jigsaw composition of gauze and cotton that demolishes the picture plane. The subtle textures of the cotton, the lines of glue melding each layer, and gentle puckers of the fabric mock the artist’s hand. Fyfe denies the idealization of paint and finds expressive gestures within his gathered palate of materials. The single gauze section allows the viewer to penetrate the piece as it fluctuates between sculptural object and painting.

Fyfe also presents weathered wood plank sculptures that lean precariously against the walls or hang by a loop of fabric, reminders of his fascination with poverty’s resourcefulness. ‘For Vann Molycan’ (2010) is a simple conglomeration of found wood and crimson felt that links the formal strength of the fabric paintings with evocative tactility. The scavenged materials are revitalized upon their introduction to the academic investigation of form and composition. ‘Pakbeng’ (2010) is a more conceptually urgent sculpture, consisting of a single gnarly plank of driftwood with two sashes of fabric fastened to the top. Fyfe sustains an open dialogue with vendors and artists of the third-world selling wares fashioned out of minimal resources. Be that as it may, this piece annunciates how close some of the sculptures come to a gimmick that is derived rather than inspired by poverty.

Each work in wood/cloth/color sustains Fyfe’s adoration of the tactility he continually discovers abroad. He implants an emotional resonance into his intellectual explorations, facilitating an semi-transcendent viewing experience. ‘Tanka fragment’ (2011), for example, summons the mysticism of a Mark Rothko painting and Matisse’s uninterrupted space skillfully. Each fragment of driftwood is incorporated into a similarly formal dialogue and is thus renewed. Although Fyfe’s yearning to capture the essence of the penniless is a stretch, he indubitably commends and channels their resourcefulness in this thoughtful exhibition.

((EXHIBITION THROUGH APRIL 23))

 

 

Joe Fyfe, 'Psar Thmei,' 2011, Gauze and cotton, 80x68 inches

Joe Fyfe, 'Psar Thmei,' 2011, Gauze and cotton, 80x68 inches

Joe Fyfe, 'Tanka fragment,' 2011, cotton and gauze, 35.6x51.4 inches

Joe Fyfe, 'Tanka fragment,' 2011, cotton and gauze, 35.6x51.4 inches

Joe Fyfe, 'for Vann Molyvann,' 2010, found wood and felt, 36x28x10 inches (approx.)

Joe Fyfe, 'for Vann Molyvann,' 2010, found wood and felt, 36x28x10 inches (approx.)

Joe Fyfe, 'Pakbeng,' 2010, found wood and cotton, 62.5x19 inches

Joe Fyfe, 'Pakbeng,' 2010, found wood and cotton, 62.5x19 inches

(photos courtesy of Graham & Sons)

 

Joe Fyfe, 'Palermo, 2000,' Pigment print, 2008, #1 of 5 11 X 14 3/4 inches

Joe Fyfe, 'Palermo, 2000,' Pigment print, 2008, #1 of 5 11 X 14 3/4 inches

(courtesy of Joe Fyfe)

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