‘el ojo de dios’ (the eye of god) and ‘getting to nothing,’ the self-referential works of William Fares
“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite.” William Blake
by Joonas Maailmanpalo
Trying to get to something that does not exist may seen like a waste of time, but for William Fares’ its been a life time pursuit. This is the New York artist’s first solo exhibition in Mexico.
The exhibition at The Skot Foreman’s Fine Art Gallery in the Fabrica la Aurora exemplifies the idea that the less there is to look at, the more one should look.
The works in this exhibition are those of a literalist, a ‘maker’, they are not pictures or illustrations of something else; they are literally the things themselves. What constitutes this artists understanding of image development is confined within the materials and the act of problem solving and although the images are made up from geometric configurations; they are not about them.
As with any art thru-out history, the relationship of being and not being is expressed differently from one generation to the next. Individual experiences and sensibility of ‘making and unmaking ’are contained within each work the artists produce. But what I find interesting about Fares’ work is how he deals with the ideas of figure/ ground, being and non being, in very real and physical terms without deferring the relationship off to the wall or some other surface
‘ojo de dios.’ The sole painting in the exhibition needs no company. The only image is a floating flat, gray circle with an oval hole within it that is centered on the golden vertical canvas. The center changes from a hole to a round ball as the viewer moves from one side to the other. The central gray image is almost the same value as the ground it is on and seems to disappear because it is being looked at. And depending where the viewer stands, the painting’s ground changes color, from gold to red or to yellow and the central image changes shape and color as well. Everything is in constant flux, including the viewer.
Obviously this painting is not meant to be viewed solely from the front. Instead it encourages multiple points of view and because of it “ojo de dios” feels like its multiple paintings, a triptych, if you will. There is a presence in its none-ness that is disturbing.. If this is the ‘eye of god’ it is elusive.
In order to get to ‘ojo de dios’ one must pass thru the main exhibition gallery
The multiple series of ‘works on paper’ contained within the front gallery are objects of manipulation. What I mean by that is both the figure and the ground are expanded and/or reduced in the process of opening and ‘drawing back’ to expose the paper’s interior. The ground takes on a new meaning and is valued on a different yet equal plane then the image that occupies it. The exposed interior’s physicality reduces and expands the relationship of being and not being.
What constitutes the integrity of an image (figure) as well as the space (ground) it occupies is drawn into question. ‘Reduction and expansion’ form the catalyst for the different variations of the artists understanding of ‘getting to nothing’.
The ‘paper works’ are set in brutally constructed steel frames that seem to function as vaults meant to contain their physicality.
There is no need to look beyond these works for their inspiration; they are not abstracted from anything else. They are self-referential and are themselves the point of their own origin.
For Fares making art is not about communication, or a search for constructs or absolutes; for him, art is about resistance to the common and accepted while trying to get to something that does not exist