Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent & New Works - a newly-launched exhibit by Shepard Fairey at Over the Influence gallery, Los Angeles. Featuring a series of unique works on canvas that summarize the artist’s 30-year career.
Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent represents a dialogue between Shepard Fairey, the 19-year-old punk, and his current life as a 49-year-old artist, activist, punk, father, and husband who’s journeyed through trials both metaphorically and literally. Shepard Fairey has always been the artist who speaks his mind through his art, and his latest exhibition is a reflection that highlights both the continuity and the evolution of his art and his concepts over the last 30 years. The title Facing the Giant references the giant of Fairey’s prolifically disseminated early stickers of Andre the Giant, but more enduringly, the giant issues and forces he confronts through his art.
Fairey is constantly moving forward, & through his progression has gained wisdom without losing the defiant idealism that fueled his beginnings & continues to define his career. The artworks were selected because of their importance aesthetically & conceptually. These works address recurring topics in the artist’s career such as phenomenology, self-empowerment, rebellion, abuse of power, environmental destruction, racism, gender inequality, xenophobia, campaign finance reform, the military industrial complex, propaganda, war & peace, and economic imperialism. Fairey is perpetually inspired to make art, creating compelling imagery to ignite conversations & provide unique avenues to address challenging topics.
Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent demonstrates that it is possible to marry art and social commentary in ways that are playful, agitational, humorous, seductive, graphically potent, and sometimes even beautiful.
“Rose Shackle”, (2006) 2019 Mixed Media on Canvas 60' x 44" inch Frequently used in Fairey’s work, roses represent more than decorative elements. Regularly central to the action of the scene or included as key design elements, the rose is invoked as a resilient species, representing an organic sense of beauty and natural strength. Enlarged and consuming the full expanse of the print, the rose radiates the energy from within and stands upright despite the shackle and chain that binds its stem. The artist humanizes the message of rising above oppressive circumstances by including an oversized drop of blood that hangs but does not yet fall, from the protruding thorn. Acting as a metaphor for an individual or society-at-large, who has endured and preserved in the face of adversity, Fairey positions the rose as a surrogate rendering of the activist spirit that guides his artistic career.
(L) Angela Nubian In her landmark text, Women, Race and Class, civil rights activist & feminist Angela Davis wrote, “black women bore the terrible burden of equality in oppression.” Aware of the persistent obstacles that African-American women face in this country, Davis has long been an advocate for dismantling flawed & superficial views of race & gender. Still, poised & looking upward, her now iconic Afro, consumes the bold text imprinted atop, which acts as a canvas for the ideals of “Power and Equality” that she promotes in her work and which must remain as core values if progress is to be made.
(R) Jesse Nubian With his fist raised in a gesture made famous in the Black Power movement of the 1960s, we r reminded of civil rights activist & minister, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. and his countless proclamations of “I Am-Somebody,” from a poem of that title originally written by Reverend William Holmes Borders, Sr. Jackson recited this poem at numerous rallies, festivals & television appearances as a call & response demonstration of empowerment & shared humanity that was central to his activism.
GUNS AND ROSES (2006) 2019 Mixed media on canvas 60” x 44” inch
GUNS AND ROSES: Inspired by a Chinese propaganda poster created during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976) in the People’s Republic of China, Fairey transforms the work’s revolutionary motif into a new contemporary anti-war message. The poster was a call-to-action for the formation of a Communist army, believing that military might was necessary to gaining political advantage.
Shepard Fairey is known for his extensive and consistent production of fine art screenprints that began his career and he has continued to create provocative and accessible works with his 18 x 24-inch screen prints. For this survey of the last three decades, the selected artworks will be shown for the first time as original paintings as well, as 30 x 41-inch fine art prints on cotton rag paper, and as 30 x 41-inch hand painted multiples (HPMs) which are prints on unique collaged backgrounds with additional stenciling and embellishments. Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent will be the first time that many of these images are available in mediums other than the original 18 x 24-inch screen print editions that have long been unavailable on the primary market.
November 10, 2019 / December 23, 2019
833 EAST 3RD STREET LOS ANGELES CA 90013
JM Art Management