New American Paintings/Blog

Andrew Falkowski at Andrew Rafacz Gallery by New American Paintings
November 8, 2011, 8:15 am
Filed under: Chicago, Review | Tags: , ,

No More Heroes, Andrew Falkowski’s (NAP #35) first solo show at Andrew Rafacz Gallery, features a fresh body of work broken down into three parts: Napoleon Bonaparte, ransom letters, and geometric abstraction. Though the three bodies of work seem at first to be disparate, they turn out to be more like three Venn diagrams that overlap and inform each other while maintaining their individual properties. This allows for a tension-generating dialogue between source material and formal qualities. — Read more by Chicago Contributor, Josh Reames, after the jump!

Andrew Falkowski’s Installation at Andrew Rafacz Gallery

The Napoleon paintings, a grouping of slick-surfaced monochromes made with an airbrush, are sourced from screen shots on Youtube of Hollywood depictions of the military and political leader. Napoleon, the icon, exists in a state of flux between the total embodiment of power and the pathetic (think: Napoleon Complex) – a content-tool that Falkowski uses to illuminate the power dichotomy in both the historical and the art-historical.

Andrew Falkowski | Without a Captain, Without a Crew, acrylic and spray paint on two panels, 30”x24” and 29”x24”

Andrew Falkowski’s Installation at Andrew Rafacz Gallery

In addition to the Napoleon images are a series of ransom note paintings containing formally abstracted quotes from essays on philosophy and war. The ransom note, a signifier of anonymity and subversion, creates an ideological framework for struggle when placed in context of the Napoleon paintings. In this juxtaposition lies the key to Andrew’s strength: the ability to play both sides. Throughout the exhibition it is uncertain if his vantage point is from the side of the one holding the power or the one subjected to it; further, it is uncertain if it is the viewer or the artist being implicated most. Is the subject the assertive artist or the artist caught in the middle of institutional power struggles? Though the art-world read isn’t the only one posited in the work, the context of the gallery and Andrew’s theoretical impulse makes it the dominant one.

Andrew Falkowski | Self Titled ransom notes, acrylic and spray paint on three panels, 40”x30.5”, 40”x30.5”, and 43”x34”

Andrew Falkowski | Self Titled (a conflict), acrylic and spray paint on panel, 40”x30”

The final component to the exhibition, a series of geometric abstractions referencing the dazzle camouflage painted on to navy ships during World War I, is the period on the open-ended sentence that Falkowski has created in the show. Without neglecting a metaphorically complex point of reference he has finalized a method of visually experiencing the entire exhibition (representation – abstraction with signifiers – pure abstraction) that reflects an overarching theme of self-negation.

The exhibition is up until December 3rd, go see it!

Andrew Falkowski’s Installation at Andrew Rafacz Gallery

Andrew Falkowski’s Installation at Andrew Rafacz Gallery

Andrew Falkowski’s Installation at Andrew Rafacz Gallery

Andrew Falkowski | Treason is a Matter of Dates (detail), large-sized white T-shirts, inkjet iron-on Napoleon images (1-12), plastic hanger, commercial garment rack, 70.5”x73”x22”

Andrew Falkowski’s Installation at Andrew Rafacz Gallery

For more info visit the Andrew Rafacz Gallery

Andrew Falkowski lives and works in Chicago. He received his MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 2003. Recent solo exhibitions include Heroes and Villains, Rosamund Felsen, Los Angeles and No Asylum Here, The Suburban, Oak Park. The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis presented his work in a three-person exhibition with Claudia Wieser and Elad Lassry in 2008. This is his second exhibition with Andrew Rafacz, after the two-person exhibition FALSE POSITIVE in May 2010.

Josh Reames is a Chicago-based artist and director of Manifest Exhibitions

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: