Walls at St. Elizabeth’s
2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE
Washington, D.C. 20032
September 5 – October 5, 2014
Lumber, UV cured ink on vinyl, and mixed media
Referencing the wood structures and architecture of the St. Elizabeth’s East Gateway Pavilion, Brendan Fowler installed six freestanding wall sculptures. As in past versions of these sculptures, Fowler invited another curator (in this case, LAND’s Director/Curator) to select other art to be installed on these sculptures (thus creating a kind of layered, or conflated artwork of multiple authors). Unlike past iterations, the selection was of Fowler’s – semi-autobiographical photographic work, here produced on semi-transparent perforated vinyl, documenting his past year. The scenes ranged from a view of the 5 freeway at dusk in Glendale, CA where the artist walks and thinks daily, an image of his mother-in-law’s stationery, the delivery of a new embroidery machine to his workspace, a gathering of friends at an art event, or the deposition that resulted from a traumatic studio fire. Depicting abstract moments of import – sites of travel, presentation, or creation, communities and individuals who shape his life – the images were “crashed” together to create a layered strata of personal experience and relationships.
After the artist hands off the second curatorial iteration to Baltimore-based collective, Rock512Devil, on October 11th, the sculptural walls will become a platform for their artist selection and a series of performances, music, and screenings. For the second installation, the surface boards will be rotated, allowing for a new surface for the artists to work on, and a new collaborative artist/curator/artist creation.
The plywood walls allowed for multiple vantage points of the installed work, encouraging visitors to circumnavigate the space and view the work in the context of the pavilion’s architecture and surrounding decaying buildings. As St. Elizabeth’s was a former mental hospital, currently in the process of being transformed into a multi-functional community space, Fowler used this same idea of renewal and potential, providing these blank surfaces for others to work on.
Fowler (b. 1978; Berkeley, CA) is a Los Angeles-based artist and musician with a multidisciplinary practice focusing around sculpture and performance. Fowler creates performances, drawings, and sculptures that allow for intimate interactions with these objects/experiences.
This work was presented Alter/Abolish/Address, an exhibition comprised of 5 site-specific commissioned projects throughout Washington, D.C. as part of 5×5:2014, a District-wide program of 25 contemporary, temporary public art projects dedicated to exploring new perspectives on the city through the lens of 5 curators, presented by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.