EXPO CHICAGO: Asad Faulwell

7 - 10 April 2022 

For the 9th edition of EXPO CHICAGO Lawrie Shabibi presents a solo of Los Angeles based Asad Faulwell.

Faulwell’s practice sits on the cusp of post-colonial modernity, exploring forgotten histories through a dense pattern language of painterly compositions. It raises questions pertaining to themes of memory, absence and power within dominant narratives.

Faulwell draws his inspiration from Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1966 film The Battle of Algiers, paying homage to the largely forgotten legacy of Algerian female freedom fighters: their fight against French occupation during the 1954-1966 Algerian war of independence. Over ten thousand Algerian women fought as equals alongside the men, operating clandestinely and often forced to renounce home and family as well as giving up their lives.

Faulwell’s elaborately painted and collaged work employs imagery both beautiful and macabre. Sumptuously coloured and patterned surfaces form the backdrops for his female portraits whilst his large-scale abstract paintings appear as devotional shrines. Faulwell's mixed-media paintings reference several visual traditions of religious iconography and cultural ornamentation, incorporating decorative motifs based on Islamic textile, varied architectures, mosaics, illuminated manuscripts, and art history.

His latest work entitled Vizard, 2022 is an exciting new direction which takes him closer to his homeland Iran: here he presents an examination of the performative nature of power and politics told through the lens of Iranian history. Faulwell addresses multiple eras of Iran’s history with special attention given to America’s involvement in the 1953 coup that brought down Iranian prime minister Mohammed Mosaddegh. This particular work adopts symbolism and techniques from miniature painting and Qajar court portraits. It parallels the multidimensionality of Rene Magritte, interspersed with paradisal elements from Islamic ornamentation and mysterious symbolisms from ancient Persian textiles, ceramics and stonework.