So Much To She
So Much To She is a visual conversation resulting from the merging of works by Aaron Fowler and Chris Watts. The nameless she is vital to this journey, a connection to our past and our future. She is extended to the viewer in ritualistic time-scapes, queen-sized charms, and through surface narratives of the hidden and visually available. While both artists pull from elements of hip hop, they have taken metaphysical and poetic approaches in the manipulation of image, object, surface, and sound, to heighten these intimate narratives.
Pulling from reality and imagination, Aaron Fowler's work describes certain conditions of the human experience, and memorializes individuals who are important to him. Using discarded materials from his immediate environment, Fowler communicates ideas about transformation, community, and salvation. Metaphorical imagery symbolize those who are left to navigate the world with the tools society has left for them, and those who get stuck in its constructs. Growing up in St. Louis, Fowler often references issues he has experienced from his personal history. By building on stories from his past, and using the materials and experiences in his present, Fowler's work becomes a proposition for a political and social re-imagining of not only where he comes from, but also the society where we all are.
Watts re-examines original found images and material to explore themes of cultural hierarchies, socio-political issues, and futurity. Although Chris was born and grew up in North Carolina, he spent the summers living with family in the progressive city of San Diego. His efforts to reconcile what were two worlds became critical to questions of self and transcending origins. Through painting, video, film, sculpture and make-shift printmaking, he reframes biographical, historic, and fictitious narratives to link mythologies that challenge conventional distinctions—between the visible and the transparent, figuration and abstraction, the eternal and the external—to interrogate the ways in which we choose to identify. For this exhibition, Watts debuts two video works, Nee Nee and Alady (God).
Nee Nee is a collaborative work that traces the ritualistic practices of two artists who give dedication, praise, and appreciation for the tools instilled in them by their mothers to better navigate their way through life. The artists use these tools to create new modes of making while reflecting on personal experiences that make up the foundations of their creative practices. In Alady (God), the viewer is introduced to the sincere tone of a voice engaged in the act of visualizing a payer, or contemplative mysticism. The dialogue uses language from Outkast's mystical skit, God (Interlude),in an attempt to question assumptions and prejudices associated with our notation of gender, sacred symbolism, and power paradigms.
Born in St. Louis, Aaron Fowler began his art education at Florrisant Valley Community College in St. Louis. He then received his BFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where he was awarded the Friends of PAFA Scholarship, the Academy Merit Scholarship, The Angel Pinto Prize for Experimental Work, and the Yale School of Art Scholarship. He graduated from Yale in 2014 and currently lives and works in New York City.
High Point native Chris Watts completed his BFA at UNC-Charlotte focusing primarily on painting and digital media after attending the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Wroclaw, Poland, where he studied printmaking. Watts attended graduate school at Yale School of Art earning the 2012 Yale School of Art Scholarship Award and the 2014 Joan Mitchell Foundation Scholarship Award. He was also awarded summer residencies at the McColl Center for Visual Art in 2010, and Atlantic Center for the Arts, Smyrna Beach in 2014. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.