Inman Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition Francesca Fuchs: how a rock is all about surface on view January 15 – February 26, 2022. This show will open concurrently with Shaun O’Dell: A Foot Between the Screens of the Unforescene on Saturday, January 29, with a reception for the artists from 2-4pm.
Francesca Fuchs’ painting practice centers on the objects she encounters in her daily life. Her work asks us to question why we hold on to certain things and what we consider to be important. Across her career, Fuchs’ critique of “importance” has unfolded in rethinking the dismissal of the small, the intimate, the feminine, and the beloved, insisting instead that these objects illuminate fundamental truths about our selves, our communities, and our histories.
Francesca Fuchs: how a rock is all about surface includes five paintings, each a portrait of a particular object, two small sculptures of cups that are paired to specific paintings, and a wall painting. At the base of the gallery walls, Fuchs paints blurs of gray color that match the concrete floor with painterly strokes. Clear-eyed about the futility of trying to dissolve the boundary between wall and floor, she insists on the serious attempt to 'unground' us, calling into question the very ground we stand on. The wall interventions also play with the illusory nature of painting, with its engagement in surface: the brushmarks, alluring from afar, dissolve into something straightforward as you approach. Fuchs plays with trompe l’oeil: intent on painting's ability to make magic, she also bluntly reveals its sleight of hand.
German philosopher Walter Benjamin pondered the effect of mass production on an original artwork —on the loss of its unique 'aura' in his 1935 essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Benjamin highlights his beliefs that art will lose its uniqueness (or aura) in reproduction. Fuchs' work seems to state the reverse: in her singular reproduction she imbues the painting with her full love for the thing, for the person who made it, for the person who lives with it. She tries to make visible an object's power. In her written description of Snail Ashtray, a ceramic she made as a child, Fuchs writes:
"I saw the snail ashtray at my mother's house two weeks after finishing the painting and realized that the color of the glaze is much greener than shown in the painting. I no longer know which is more accurate: the painting of the snail ashtray or the ashtray itself."
The question after making the painting is whether the object itself or the painting of it holds the power we imbue it. Fuchs engages in the translation of singular objects from daily life in an attempt to dissolve the distinction between high and low, between personal and public, between what we feel and what we know, be it through a rock, mug, ashtray, or bust. Curator Dean Daderko writes in his recent essay:
“Francesca Fuchs paints the texture of memory. Her extraordinary use of her medium is the result of decades of dedicated practice. She’s a careful observer, and her paintings are emotional translations. The memories she paints are hers, but her pictures are meant for us. …though memory is fallible and evanescent, her paintings render it concrete and evidentiary. Through painting, she teases out the full emotional potential that resides in objects and images.”
(Dean Daderko, “The Careful Practice of Attention,” 2021)
On view concurrently with Fuchs’ Inman Gallery show, The Art Museum of Southeast Texas (AMSET) is presenting Francesca Fuchs: Serious and Slightly Funny Thingsfrom December 18, 2021 through March 13, 2022. The show features paintings, mugs, and wall painting combinations made specifically for the museum's galleries. Accompanying the exhibition is a full color catalogue with descriptions by the artist and an essay by Dean Daderko.
Francesca Fuchs received her BFA (1993) from the Wimbledon School of Art, London, and her MFA (Meisterschülerin) (1993) from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Germany. Born in London and raised in Münster, Germany, Francesca Fuchs moved to the U.S. in 1996 for the Core Program at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Fuchs' work has been shown in venues including The Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1996); The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (2000); and The Suburban, Illinois (2013). She was the 2017 Josephine Mercy Heathcote Fellow at MacDowell, New Hampshire, and Art League Houston's 2018 Texas Artist of the Year. Solo exhibitions include Inman Gallery, Houston, TX (2018); Talley Dunn Gallery, Dallas, TX (2020, 2015, 2012); Texas Gallery, Houston, TX (2013, 2010, 2005); and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX (2007). Francesca Fuchs lives and works in Houston, TX.
Special program: Saturday, February 26, 1:00pm
Conversation between Annette DiMeo Carlozzi and Francesca Fuchs
In person and on Instagram Live.