Galerie Christian Lethert is pleased to announce its first solo exhibition with Joe Fyfe (*1952). The New York based artist presents recent work of felt and fabric, drawings on paper, paintings on pressboard and lead.
In the 1970s Fyfe studied at the Philadelphia College of Art. After an encounter with works by Imi Knoebel and Blinky Palermo at the DIA Art Foundation in the late 1980s, he turned away from figurative practices: »These works seemed to codify abstraction as something that could speak to the body, the eye and the mind directly while simultaneously sending one away from art and back out into the world« he said.
At this time he began to interrogate the abstract painting as a physical form. Using a variety of materials that go beyond conventional picture carriers, his works and its materials are strongly connected to the places where they are produced. Joe Fyfe often travelled in the developing world: Mexico, Turkey, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as well as visiting Southeast Asia numerous times. Besides Europe and the United States he has exhibited also in Vietnam and Cambodia. Under the influences of these cultures, he produced cloth works using fabric he purchased in local markets, underlining an attunement to physical environments by emphasizing the physical aspect of the painting object. »I saw a Bodhi tree laced with Buddhist pennants and realized what so attracted me about it was that it was my ideal painting: an abstraction of wood, color and cloth.«
In his exhibition in Cologne Joe Fyfe shows works from a series called »Elecciones«. The colorful paintings on rough pressboard were developed during a residency at CCA in Mallorca. Having lost most of his materials in transit, he began working with found materials from the nearby towns where elections were being held. The day after voting day, Fyfe began collecting discarded election campaign materials: pressed boards that were attached to fences and banners that hung in plazas, altering them by introducing varied pictorial tropes. »Paint was reintroduced for the first time in many years. What began as a misfortune became an unexpected opening up of new possibilities. I am told the elecciones mean choices & I now have many new ones when I work.«