Adam Fearon
Opening: June 25, 2021

Ashley Berlin is pleased to present a solo exhibition by artist Adam Fearon. The exhibition consists of 14 oil portraits of friends made over the course of the last year. Painted from life in the artist’s Berlin studio, the works are a departure from his more research-based practice and a dive into the purely phenomenological of being together and painting, portraitist and sitter. Initially, these paintings were not made to be exhibited for the public; they instead stemmed from a desire simply to spend time with others and represent relationships in a time of distance and estrangement. Each work is a rigorously created record that captures daily life, dress, and personal moods, as well as changing light against a subtly shifting studio material in the background.

An understated red rolling chair becomes a punctum within a series that archives a time marked by minimal interactions. Made at first as personal documentation, these diaristic pieces were eventually transposed into the grid space of social media. Blunt steel frames on the paintings recall the meticulous ritual of their painting, using a material that Fearon has frequently explored in previous sculptures, but also to cut through the emotional nature of painting friends. Holding the paintings at equal distance and height they perform an algorithmic function, instructing a networked, formal language on what usually escapes formalization. In previous works, Fearon has explored photography and private documents through site-specific installations and sculpture, as well as the slippage of meaning against technological interfaces. While this new body of work uses a different artistic language, it poses similar questions about the nature of these signifiers.

Silvia Federici wrote that, “in a social system committed to the devaluation of our lives the only possibility of economic and psychological survival resides in our capacity to transform everyday practices into a terrain of collective struggle.” Despite being intimate and subjective, the psychological space in which they were created and their affect cannot be untangled from a larger cosmos of experience.

Adam Fearon lives and works in Berlin, Germany. He studied at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin and Städelschule, Frankfurt. Projects include Paravents, Visual Tendencies, Berlin (2021) Relief, Butler Gallery, Killkenny, Ireland (2019) Lignin, Harbinger, Reyjavik (2018) Things I Think I Want Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany (2017) TWILL, Kunsthal ved am seden af, Svendborg, Denmark (2017) Augury, BQ, Berlin (2016) p13n, Room E10-27, Paris (2015) Berlin Art Prize, District, Berlin (2015). In 2020 he was a recipient of the Arts Council of Ireland's Next Generation Artist award.

Touching the Surface: An Interview with Adam Fearon by Alison Hugill

Text: Kate Brown
Documentation: Benjamin Marvin