Chris Fallon: Irresistible Deception

October 15 - December 18, 2021
New location: 1401 16th Street, San Francisco

Make Appointment


CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibitions is pleased to announce Irresistible Deception, a solo exhibition of new paintings and drawings by Los Angeles-based artist Chris Fallon, on view at CULT’s new home, located within Yves Behar’s fuseproject (1401 16th St., San Francisco). The exhibition runs from October 15 to December 11, 2021, with an artist reception on Friday, October 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. Irresistible Deception is Fallon’s first solo presentation with CULT.

In this new body of work, Fallon — known for his striking images of ambiguous figures that both draw on and challenge existing traditions of portraiture — explores how the practice of collecting shapes the fashioning of domestic space. From the most lavish to the most impoverished of circumstances, the spaces of human habitation take form through the amassing of objects. Beyond the functional value of the objects we amass, collecting might serve a variety of unconscious purposes: exhibiting a material archive of wealth, documenting travel and performing worldliness, creating a narrative of personal achievement, or attempting to craft an aesthetic sensibility ultimately tied to norms of gender, class, racial, religious, or national identity.

Fallon observes that collecting is a quotidian activity that appears practical but also evinces a form of compulsion or drive. In his paintings, human-like figures share space with the objects that come to define them — collections of memorabilia, cars, books, religious iconography, botanicals, or art. Often the human figures recede into the background, ceding the space to representations in different registers: masks, sculptures, trophies, mirrors, and paintings within the painting.

In preparation for the exhibition, Fallon delved into the psychology of collecting, a practice with an ancient heritage. Psychoanalyst and art historian Werner Muensterberger writes that collecting is a “need-driven compensatory behavior where every new object effectively gives the notion of fantasized omnipotence.” Fallon adds. “We end up living vicariously through our possessions. We allow our objects to project a curated, aspirational image of ourselves to others, as well as back at ourselves.” The paintings in the exhibition reflect this phenomenon through a distinctly American lens, drawing on US iconography while illuminating the strangeness — and the queerness — of its constitutive image-repertoire.

Human figures in Fallon’s paintings are relatively flat, while objects and plants are rendered with detailed definition. His painting style references formal portraiture and classical painting as well as cartoons and other so-called lowbrow art forms, positioning his work in an uneasy middle ground. Environments and figures in these pieces are familiar but there’s a tension in the skewed, garish way Fallon represents them. “When we hide behind our possessions and allow inanimate objects to define us, they inherently hold the dimensionality we feel we lack,” Fallon said. “I choose to show this literally.” The tone of the works veers between humor, emotional intensity, and nightmarishness. Sometimes the figures seem part-reptilian; at others, they are barely an outline, a citation or representational shorthand, as in a comic book. But while the paintings draw on familiar images, they translate them into a unique pictorial space that upends expectations and leaves the viewer unsettled.

In his exploration of formal strategies of portraiture, Fallon’s work also challenges American notions of masculinity and femininity as perpetuated by Old Hollywood, advertising and other forms of media. His non-binary figures hover in a liminal zone beyond the gendered archetypes that have shaped the history of American domesticity. Additionally, the works allude to the colonial heritage of collecting represented in the work through the inclusion of “ethnic” masks on the walls of his imaginary figures’ spaces. While the works proliferate meanings, ultimately they create a dreamspace that might appear as the nightmare of our historical present, or a vision of a world that hovers just beyond the threshold of perception. (Damon Young with Aimee Friberg)

Chris Fallon (b. 1976, Princeton, N.J.) spent his formative years in Texas, Mexico, Massachusetts, New York and San Francisco. He has presented solo exhibitions at Percy Gallery, Oakland; Partisan Gallery, San Francisco; Park Life Gallery, San Francisco and was included in “Sun Kissed Chokehold,” a group show curated by Laura Watters and Kaylie Schiff at Y53, Los Angeles and “Janus,” a group show at CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibitions, San Francisco. He exhibited work at the 2020 Spring/Break Art Show, Los Angeles. His work is represented in the public collections of the Los Angeles Contemporary Archives and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

Image Caption: Chris Fallon, Last Looks, 2021, Acrylic on wood panel, 48 x 60 inches, courtesy of the artist and CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibitions
Last Looks, 2021 Acrylic on wood panel 48 x 60 inches 121.9 x 152.4 cm
Western Civilization, 2021 Acrylic on wood panel 48 x 60 inches 121.9 x 152.4 cm
Back Room, 2021 Acrylic on wood panel 48 x 60 inches 121.9 x 152.4 cm
And the Rock Was Christ, 2021 Acrylic on wood panel 24 x 24 inches 61 x 61 cm
White Tie Safari Committee, 2021 Acrylic on wood panel 64 x 96 inches 162.6 x 243.8 cm
The Bravest of the Brave, 2021 Acrylic on wood panel 48 x 64 inches 121.9 x 162.6 cm
The Gardeners, 2021 Acrylic on wood panel 64 x 48 inches 162.6 x 121.9 cm
The Night Gardeners, 2021 Acrylic on wood panel 64 x 48 inches 162.6 x 121.9 cm
Anointing The Thing (Picasso), 2021 Watercolor on paper 24 x 18 inches 61 x 45.7 cm
Anointing The Thing (Wooden Head), 2021 Watercolor on paper 24 x 18 inches 61 x 45.7 cm
Anointing The Thing (Peruvian Plant Deity), 2021 Watercolor on paper 24 x 18 inches 61 x 45.7 cm
Anointing The Thing (Nefertiti), 2021 Watercolor on paper 24 x 18 inches 61 x 45.7 cm
Anointing The Thing (Mouseketeer), 2021 Watercolor on paper 24 x 18 inches 61 x 45.7 cm
Anointing The Thing (Dubuffet), 2021 Watercolor on paper 24 x 18 inches 61 x 45.7 cm


10 Year Anniversary Exhibition
January 18 - March 2, 2024


Terri Loewenthal
Mountain Goat Mountain

September 15 – November 18, 2023

Time is a Tangled Web: Mary Fernando Conrad, Sophronia Cook, Cross Lypka, Tyler Cross, Zhivago Duncan, Jean Isamu Nagai, Rachel Kaye, Ruth Charlotte Kneass at CULT Bureau, Oakland
September 28 - December 16, 2023

Last Light: Luz Carabaño, Sophronia Cook, Cross Lypka, and Aidan Koch
June 23 - August 26, 2023

ECHO ECHO: Rachel Bridges and Ivan Bridges at CULT Bureau, Oakland
March 2 - August 5, 2023

Two Handfuls Of Silver Dust: Rhonda Holberton
April 27 - June 17, 2023

LEGACY: Binta Ayofemi, Adrian L. Burrell, Rachel Bridges, Ivan Bridges, Masako Miki, and Jean Isamu Nagai
January 18 - April 1, 2023

ZHIVAGO DUNCAN: Measuring Consciousness
September 15 - December 10, 2022

CULT Bureau: Gaze Interrupted
September 17 - November 19, 2022

AMY NATHAN: Slipknot Loophole
May 14 - August 26, 2022

Rebekah Goldstein: Welcome Home Stranger
March 19 - May 7, 2022

Sapiens / Stories at CULT Bureau
November 10, 2021 - April 30, 2022

Physics & Fiction
January 20 - March 12, 2022

Chris Fallon: Irresistible Deception
October 15 - December 18, 2021

Sapiens / Stories on 8-Bridges
October 7 - November 3, 2021

Masako Miki: New Mythologies
June 16 - October 12, 2021

Tales of Metamorphosis: Rebekah Goldstein, James Perkins, and Amy Nathan
June 3 - 30, 2021

Janus II - CULT's 7 Year Anniversary Exhibition
April 9 - May 20, 2021

Troy Chew: Yadadamean
October 17 - December 12, 2020

We’re all in this together
August 14 - October 10, 2020

Beyond Words
June 26 - August 29, 2020

Ritual of Succession
January 10 - March 28, 2020

Record of Succession at fused space
January 13 - March 27, 2020

AMY NATHAN: Glyph Slipper
September 13 - December 7, 2019

June 28 - August 3, 2019

April 20 - June 15, 2019

MASAKO MIKI: Shapeshifters
January 12 - March 23, 2019

November 30 - December 14, 2019

REBEKAH GOLDSTEIN: See You On The Flipside
September 8 - November 25, 2018

June 9 - July 28, 2018

March 2 - May 19, 2018

October 27, 2017 - January 20, 2018

January 10 – March 4, 2017

October 21 - December 10, 2016

NO SHOW MUSEUM: Yves Klein, Maria Eichhorn, Daniel Knorr, Etc.
One Night Only: Monday, October 17, 2016

DESIRÉE HOLMAN: Selected Works
September 17 - October 8, 2016

Facundo Argañaraz, Leah Guadagnoli, Desirée Holman, Kara Joslyn, Max Maslansky, Liz Robb, Tamra Seal, Emily Weiner, & Cate White

July 16 - August 20, 2016

PABLO DÁVILA: Ladies & Gentlemen,
We Are Floating In Space

May 13 - July 9, 2016

MASAKO MIKI: Conversations with Fox, Feather, and Ghost
March 4 - April 30, 2016

SUZY POLING: Total Internal Reflection
January 15 - February 27, 2016

DAN GLUIBIZZI: You Don’t Have to be Alone Tonight
November 6 – December 19, 2015

September 11- October 31, 2015

SEXXXITECTURE: Daniel Gerwin, Rebekah Goldstein, Roman Liška, Max Maslansky, May Wilson & Jake Ziemann
July 1 - August 1, 2015

May 1 - June 27, 2015

February 27 - April 25, 2015

PRINCE RAMA: How To Live Forever
January 25 – February 21, 2015

November 7, 2014 – January 16, 2015

September 12 – November 1, 2014

A PATTERN LANGUAGE: Michelle Grabner, Angie Wilson & Lena Wolff
June 20 - July 19, 2014

MICHELLE BLADE: Gathering Into Being
April 25th – June 7th, 2014

MIGUEL ARZABE: /*Reject Algorithms*/
March 7 – April 19, 2014

March 7 – April 19, 2014

& Rhonda Holberton

January 10 - February 22, 2014

UNSEEN: Miya Ando, Miguel Arzabe, Chris Duncan, Klea Mckenna & Dean Smith
November 10 - December 21, 2013

Past Off-Site Exhibitions

April 7 - May 26, 2018

Works by Miguel Arzabe & Juan Sorrentino

April 9 – May 17, 2015

EBB: Gina Borg and Chris Russell at Loczi Design
December 10, 2014