Aaron Fowler: Blessings on Blessings
Aaron Fowler: Blessings On Blessings is a solo exhibition of new assemblage-paintings by the New York-based artist. This is Fowler’s first solo exhibition.
Aaron Fowler, who was born in St. Louis and currently lives and works in Harlem, creates mixed-media assemblage-paintings that depict his experiences and the lives of his family and friends in both a personal narrative and an epic journey through contemporary America. The title of this exhibition, which includes twelve portraits, tableaux, and medallions created in the past year, refers to lyrics from “Blessings”, a 2015 song by American rapper Big Sean.
In these sculptural tableaux, Fowler depicts himself as a “mirror character” called The Pilgrim. He employs oils, acrylics and collage - often pixilated ‘photo print-outs’ based on 18th C. American historical painting - alongside objects like Adidas sneakers, CDs, T-shirts, and plastic bags. The dynamic, large-scale compositions are enacted on discarded domestic materials including shutters, mirrored doors, windows, and card tables.
Blessings On Blessings continues the artist’s “Pilgrim” series, which began with Family (currently on view in A Constellation at The Studio Museum) and culminates with Landing, a portrait of the artist and his family walking towards us, with St. Louis (and the “Gateway Arch”) looming in the background. The curator Amanda Hunt writes: “The urgency of Fowler’s connection to his family and friends is alarming in the honesty of its depictions…[He] grapples with a personal history that connects us to his experience as a black man – and a member of a black family – in America…Understanding and viewing Fowler’s work in the current moment – which lawyer and social just activist Bryan Stevenson calls ‘the second era of the collapse of Reconstruction’ – is imperative.” [“Future Greats: Aaron Fowler,” ArtReview Magazine, Feb/Mar 2016]