Lawrie Shabibi is proud to announce Asad Faulwell: Bed of Broken Mirrors his first solo exhibition at Lawrie Shabibi and presentation of his celebrated ongoing series Les Femmes d'Alger.
In this series Faulwell wryly references French Orientalist painting tradition, in particular Delacroix's famous 1834 painting of the same name and Picasso's 1954 homage to it. Whilst those artists depicted Algerian women as exotic, sexual objects, Faulwell draws his inspiration from Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 film The Battle of Algiers, paying homage to their largely forgotten legacy: 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 large-scale female portraits depicted in monochrome, wounded and bleeding, sometimes emanating rays or tears from their eyes. These portraits are takenfrom news clippings and periodicals researched by Faulwell that capture the politically charged events in their lives - such as their trials in French courts or the moments after their pardon. The black and white images in combination with the brightly coloured motifs are reminiscent of Matisse's decorative patterning as well as those from his own Iranian/Islamic tradition of geometric design or ornamentation.
While in his earlier paintings Faulwell focussed on individual women, in his latest series he often combines two or more, weaving together aspects of their lives within a single composition. These figures include Meriem Bouattour a nurse and weapons transporter for the FLN who was killed by French soldiers in 1960 at the age of 22; Ourida Meddad a weapons transporter for the FLN who was killed by French soldiers during a battle that took place in a small village; Djamila Bouhired and Djamila Buoazza, both of whom carried out bomb attacks in Algiers and were captured and tortured by the French, sentenced to death but later pardoned; Danielle Minne, a French women who was the youngest of the female bombers; and Zohra Drif another bomber who was eventually pardoned.
Faulwell's series of paintings commemorate these largely unsung figures, the repetition of images and the quasi-religious imagery employed giving them the air of devotional shrines. Yet Faulwell neither judges nor condones their actions. Whether they are heroes or villains remains at the discretion of the viewer.
Asad Faulwell (b.1982) was born in Caldwell, Idaho and currently resides and works in Los Angeles. He graduated from UCSB in 2005 and Claremont Graduate University in 2008. While at Claremont he was awarded a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant.
Faulwell has exhibited at The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas; University Art Museum, Long Beach, California; Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, California; Nassau County Art Museum, NY; Kravets/Wehby Gallery, New York; Untitled, Miami; Rogue Wave at L.A. Louver, Los Angeles; Josh Lilley Gallery, London; Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai and Marc Selwyn Fine Art among others. He has been featured in ArtForum, The Huffington Post, Harper's Bazaar, The N.Y. Times and L.A. Weekly.
His work is part of many private and public collections including The Oppenheimer Collection at The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; The Rubell Collection, Miami, The Franks-Suss Collection, London and the Jiminez-Colon Collection, Puerto Rico.