Fellowship Exhibition: Nick Fagan
March 11 - March 15, 2022
Reception: Friday, March 11, 5 - 7 PM
Join us for a Fellowship exhibition by 2021-2022 Visual Arts Fellow Nick Fagan.
My work is a material reaction to my experiences with mental health, disability, religion, and labor. With my personal history in mind, my content spans topics including the spirituality of banal objects, ritual and transformation, the abstraction of language, and the humor and duality of masculinity.
With a drawing practice as a foundation, and an interest in additive and subtractive sculptural processes, my work often begins with a close research of a found material. Combining playful experimentation with a system of rules and formulas to guide the process, the material research reveals a deeper history of an otherwise common object. Those physical traces of activity, such as scratches in a fragment of hardwood floor or stains on a used moving blanket, charge the material with a record that transcends an individual person or a specific moment. By searching for beauty in practical and utilitarian objects, my practice acts as a conduit for the material’s history to be seen through a spiritual lens. By referencing religious sacrament and ritual, I see material’s ability to transform from banal into divine, and hold a more grand narrative than that of the individual who may have used or interacted with it under practical conditions.
Language exists in my work along a spectrum of abstraction from somewhat readable text to a tangle of unrecognizable forms that resemble the aesthetics of letters or numbers but are completely illegible. This abstraction stems from my experience with dyslexia and seeing language as a confusion of symbols. The transformation of text-like forms into completely abstracted shapes embed them with other cultural signifiers that relate to cartoons and animation, Gilded Age architecture and ornament, and the image of the phallus.
By creating playful, cartoonish curves, flaccid forms, and soft colors in a larger than life scale references manhood according to the duality between the strength and humility.
By accessing my personal history and meditating on experiences with spirituality and religion, language and disability, and the duality of masculinity I can explore tensions between the personal and the public. The use of banal materials in my work connects my specific personal identity to the common history of the larger public.