Carl FUDGE Wadsworth | Stan NARTEN Demon Haunted World May 12 – June 23, 2012
Galerie Richard, Paris, presents two solo exhibitions of the artists Carl Fudge, entitled Wadsworth, and Stan NARTEN, entitled, Demon Haunted World, from May 12th to June 23rd, 2012. Both of these artists belong to a generation of painters for whom the computer has replaced the sketchbook in the realization of preparatory works and has broadened their field of creativity. Carl Fudge and Stan Narten work from figurative images, often from acclaimed artworks, and transform them by decomposing and restructuring them in a new fashion between figuration and abstraction.
The works presented by Carl Fudge follow the success of his exhibition The Black Country, presented by Galerie Richard in New York in 2011. Fudge is recognized as one of the first painters to incorporate digital processes into his technique. Fudge’s work refers to an area in the West Midlands of England. This region became intensely compromised during the industrial revolution, as coalmines, iron foundries and steel mills had left their black mark on the landscape. Fudge found inspiration in a series of woodcuts picturing this region by artist Edward Wadsworth, a member of the avant-garde Vorticism movement. Wadsworth’s woodcuts of slagheaps and furnaces provide a point of departure for Fudge in this new group of paintings and woodcut prints. Fudge’s ability to retain the influence of Wadsworth’s traditional woodcuts, even while deconstructing them through a digital process, is truly fascinating. Because this series uses mostly a red palette, the viewer may decipher images of a crumbling city plagued by turmoil. In this way, this exhibition has a pulse that strikes a chord with the economic crisis we find ourselves in today.
Fudge’s digital deconstruction of these images matches the exposed and harsh nature of Wadsworth’s landscapes and townscapes. Using the computer as an abstracting tool, Fudge converts his found images into complex new ones updating the relationship between the abstract and the figurative. This is an exploration of the terrain between materiality and virtuality, pattern and mutation, and order and chaos. A well-known printmaking master in the New York artist community, Fudge, initially begins his work with printmaking, then continues onto painting.
While Fudge’s prints refer to the artwork of twentieth century European artists, many compare his new paintings to primitive tribal art from all five continents. The deconstructive and digitized process of Fudge’s works brings us to a place distant from its origin. Despite this sense of displacement, the viewers can feel an unexpected sense of rawness and vigor, similar to the energy felt when viewing tribal art. Fudge states that he investigates both the practical and aestheticized format of camouflage within abstraction. He writes, “Both the duplicity, history and even implicit psychology of ‘cover’ are generative subjects for my painting.”
Imagery in his work decays in a landscape of mechanical modules, subject to its own metamorphoses. It extends or enhances the aesthetics of the original work with respect and consideration. Conceptually and formally, its practice is to deconstruct and reconstruct layers of iconography, leaving traces of their presence. Fudge captures the precise beauty of digital aesthetics while continuing to celebrate the sensuality and the possibilities of painting. For the first time in Paris, he exhibits his limited edition woodcuts in tandem with his paintings. Carl Fudge’s work is part of the collections of The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art and The Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others.
Born in 1979 in Sofia, Bulgaria, Stan Narten lives and works in New York. He combines the use of the digital process and conventional techniques of painting. He begins with mainly figurative images of paintings from different centuries, which often deal with religious or mythological themes, or portraits of influential people. He deconstructs, blurring the visibility of the original image to render a single enigmatic work. The abstraction is mainly created by the use of pieces of the original image carefully arranged to hand-drawn elements. Throughout this process, the iconography is superimposed on the original elements of the digital process, leaving suggestions of visual disturbances. In the tradition of the old masters, his paintings are constructed with a multitude of layers and accumulations of glaze with a depth and a light that only the medium of oil painting is capable of rendering.
The nature of faith is a concept that has long fascinated Narten, and the method of abstraction in his paintings reflects his vision of man in the universe. The artist plays with the innate tendency of man to read images from an anthropomorphic point of view so that as abstract as his paintings may be, human beings keep this ability to identify the representation. Stan Narten depicts the aesthetic between figuration and abstraction, defining the connection between order and chaos, disillusionment and faith. In this ambiguous area of perception, Narten refers to the experience of reversing the familiar and the foreign, the known and the unknown.
Stan Narten exhibits regularly at Kravets Wehby Gallery, New York. Galerie Richard, Paris, presented him in the exhibition The Incomplete-Paris in 2010, which brought together 28 young artists collected by Hubert Neumann.