Upcoming faculty and painter Asad Faulwell sat down to answer a few questions about his process and his 2019 Summer Workshop: The Full Spectrum in Acrylic: color, mark making, surface & transparency. This workshop takes place at the Ranch June 3 – 7. Read to find out more about his work, what he expects students to learn, and the purpose and effort behind his Algerian freedom fighter paintings.
- What are you most looking forward to about teaching your workshop here this summer? I really enjoy introducing the students to the work of contemporary artists.
Showing a student an artist that they did not know about before that really resonates with them is great. I plan to do short daily lectures introducing the class to a wide variety of contemporary painters. I also enjoy helping students solve technical problems with there work. Helping them find a solution that allows them to communicate through painting in the way that they want to is great.
- What can students expect from your workshop?
They can expect to pick up a toolbox of skills and tricks to help them become a better painter through daily demonstrations. They can also expect to be introduced to wide variety of different types of contemporary art through slide lectures. They can expect a lot of time to make work. I will do demos and lectures daily but I will make sure there is a lot of time to be in the studio making stuff.
- What is one thing you are hoping that students learn?
In addition to picking up some technical tricks and skills I hope that students learn the value of taking calculated risks in there work. I hope that they learn the value of stepping outside of your comfort zone when it comes to paintings and art making. I also hope they find a contemporary artist or two that they like that they did not previously know about.
- You have taught at the Ranch before, what keeps bringing you back?
I taught at the Ranch last year and had a great teaching experience. The class was full of inquisitive and talented students It is also a beautiful place and quite a nice departure from my normal studio practice.
- I’ve read accounts about how you came to painting through abstract expressionism and gestural painting.
Where does that history find a place in your work? At this point I think there is little of that initial influence left in the work. Probably the main thing would be that I loved to create texture with thick paint in the older work and I still love to work with texture although now that is done primarily through mixed media. That being said gestural painting has been coming back in small doses in my newer work.
- Your paintings are often filled with dense patterns, structures and imagery. Where do these patterns and colors come from? ‘
The patterns are often in reference to ancient mosaics, shrines, temples, palaces and other important structures. The colors I feel like is just my palette, they are the colors I like to see together. I have always gravitated towards vibrant, high key colors.
- Recently, your exhibited work has focused on the stories of Algerian freedom fighters; women whose actions against colonialism were brave, empathizable, but violent. You’ve described these paintings as being morally complicated and filled with ambiguity. What is the importance of these stories? What interests you most about this history, and why is painting your way to describe them?
The importance of the stories is the way that history can comment on and inform contemporary society. The story of Algerian freedom fighters touched on many important matters at the same time. Through the stories of these women I could talk about colonialism, violence, morality, gender inequality as well as psychology. It was such a powerful story, so complex, with so many components and no clear right or wrong answer, this is why I was drawn to it. I chose to paint it because that is the medium I know well and because there is a long history of Algerian women being the subject matter of painters. I wanted to piggy-back off this art historical tradition of Delacroix and Picasso and address it from a different perspective.
- What other stories and histories are you interested in exploring currently?
I am currently making work that is abstract and much broader in its scope. Its not specific like the Algerian women series, in fact I am not sure what exactly it is about as of yet. The references are big and small, from the microscopic to the celestial. I am still using a lot of pattern but also an increased amount of gesture and a wider variety of mixed media materials. The collage in the work rather than being portraits of Algerian freedom fighters is photographs of my wife’s eyes. Again, I am not sure what it all means but I am trying to talk about the tenuousness and fragility of our existence. Its a bit more spiritual and philosophical and less political than the previous body of work.
- What is your favorite part of your process and why?
I love mixing materials. I love making paint, collage, pins, yarn etc all work together seamlessly. The interplay between different kinds of marks and materials is my favorite part of my process.
- Do you have any upcoming projects that we should know about?
I just had a show in Dubai at Lawrie/Shabibi Gallery and I will be doing a solo show in New York at Kravets/Wehby Gallery in early 2020.
Click here to learn more about Asad’s workshop and to register!
Asad Faulwell is a California-based artist whose work is in the collections of The Nelson-Atkins Museum, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Orange County Museum of Art, The Ulrich Museum, ADA Museum at University of California, Santa Barbara and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Asad is represented by Kravets/Wehby Gallery in New York, Denk Gallery in Los Angeles and Lawrie/ Shabibi Gallery in Dubai.