Lisa Cooley is pleased to present work by Josh Faught in his first solo exhibition with the gallery, While the Light Lasts. The exhibition opens on Friday, January 8th and runs until February 14, 2010. A reception for the artist will be held on January 8th, from 6 until 8 pm.
The sculptures presented in While the Light Lasts, a title borrowed from a 1924 Agatha Christie story, combine fibers, collage, sculpture, and painting. They depict a vibrant, interior, subjective life in conflict with banal, quotidian drudgery.
Faught’s sculptural forms are expressive and raw. He has developed a material language of loosely crocheted rifts and ruptures: burrowing, cuff-like nooks; idiosyncratic pockets; webbed knots and perforated swatches. He combines these unique forms with woven afghans, which are then stretched across wooden supports and augmented with unusual materials such as garden trellises, toilet paper, brown sequins, nail polish or smaller sculptures cast in plaster or leather-scented wax. These saggy assemblages suggest a loose narrative about object and ornamentation, sexual difference, memory, desire, isolation, and spiritual loss, while drawing on the history of textiles, recent social and political history and the artist’s personal story.
Faught’s works also evoke a physical or psychological presence by functioning as twins or doppelgangers. Several works replicate household objects – plants, books, or clocks – in woven fabric or cast plaster. Some works approximate the size and scale of a human body, while others conjure an anonymous individual through display of personal effects – flyers, letters, books and pins. These shadowy doubles suggest a substitute, a stand-in, or something second best, and infuse the works with a sense of yearning and nostalgia.
Faught borrows an expressive vernacular from the art fabric movement of the 1970s, a moment when fibers were not to be walked upon or worn but could reflect an urgent political, corporeal, emotional and subconscious existence. For instance, How to Beat the High Cost of Living, plays with the history of the textile tradition of Ikat, where dyed yarn is woven with undyed yarn. Instead of pre-dyeing the yarns before they’re woven as is traditional, Faught paints colors directly onto the yarn using nail polish or ink while it is in the loom and in the process of being woven. The slipping and twisting of the wet fibers creates a unique vibrating, televisual effect, which echoes the sculpture’s form – a fussy, heavily embellished, mid-century letter “cozy” or sorter, a craft project for the truly over-organized. The work becomes a manifestation of domestic neurosis; it speaks to the ways we try to manage anxiety and feelings of loneliness.
Finally, Indigo, one of the oldest and most widely used plant-based dyes, plays a critical role in this exhibition. The alchemical Indigo dying process is steeped in mythologies of witchcraft, sadness, mystery, and “the blues.” An object will oxidize after being dipped in Indigo, its color transforming in plain sight, yielding a deep, almost-black, shade of blue with repeated applications. Although not physically present in every piece, Indigo dye touches each work in the exhibition, perhaps providing a metaphor for capitulation. Faught makes a connection between the fabric’s transformation from light to dark and the moment when hope turns to despair.
Josh Faught lives and works in Eugene, Oregon. He holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has exhibited widely in the United States, and his work was last seen at the gallery in the group exhibitions, Creswell Crags and On the Pleasure of Hating. His work is included in the permanent collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art. In 2009, he was awarded the Betty Bowen Award from the Seattle Art Museum, where he currently has a year-long exhibition.