While Sunday Morning was in town, we got to wintess the week-long installation process and opening night for AJ Fosik's latest jaw-dropping solo show at Guerrero Gallery.
"Lamplighter to the Promised Land, AJ Fosik’s second show at Guerrero Gallery of new sculptural works, explores and challenges the concept of belief as virtue. A self-taught artist, Fosik mirrors the transformative process in sculpture of this genre seen in many religions that elevates simple materials of wood, paint, and nails into glorified beings: from statues in Judeo-Christian religions to Hindu incarnations of the spiritual deities or persons they represent. These sculptures also serve as a metaphor for AJ Fosik’s belief these sculptural emblems of religions are at many times a “hucksterism of the holy classes.”
Consisting of hundreds of individually cut pieces of vividly varnished wood paused just at the beasts’ most fearsome climactic stance, baring jagged teeth in mid-roar, Fosik’s totemic characters are reminiscent of early American Folk Art, while drawing inspiration from a wide range of cultural backgrounds and religious iconographies. They are “a celebration of the power and potential of human ingenuity and creativity.” Concurrently, according to Fosik his creatures also “stand as a reminder that dogma is a corruption of the creative impulse.” As they are conglomerations of multiple systems’ definition of the unknown, they do not point at finger at any one canon, but through genuine scrutiny shake general beliefs and doctrines and challenge preconceived notions of faith and its power.
In the Project Space at Guerrero Gallery, a series of illustrations by New York City-based artist and tattoo artist, Daniel Albrigo examines the visual cues and imagery of an iconic cartoon images he grew up with, particularly that of Felix the Cat. Through his creative process, Albrigo reduced the image of the Cat down to its most charged elements like its wry smile and the pie-eyes, common in the design of cartoons of the 1920s. the classic Americana happy face pyramid structure in the center of the room ensconced by Felix’s smiling faces in the visual works on the wall bridge two eras of illustration and visual language. Albrigo’s works affirm the smile remains a universally recognized symbol that has been relatively unchanged throughout modern visual culture that everyone can recognize and identify. However, in many ways like Fosik’s works, the proliferation of such a superlatively benign image like smiley face in the exhibition space also calls attention to its very plasticity. When inundated with over and over again, the smiley face and these eternally happy creatures can possibly change its meaning to become something unknown, strange and reveals its unheimlich qualities." -Review by SF Art EnthusiastPhotos by: Tabatha Rosado and Katie Pilgrim