Chris Fallon: Irresistible Deception

October 15 - December 11, 2021
New location: 1401 16th Street, San Francisco

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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

Current

Chris Fallon: Irresistible Deception
October 15 - December 11, 2021

Sapiens / Stories: Bruna Massadas, Chris Fallon and Sahana Ramakrishnan
October 7 - November 3, 2021

Past

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

FEMALE TROUBLE 2
June 28 - August 3, 2019

RUXUE ZHANG
April 20 - June 15, 2019

MASAKO MIKI: Shapeshifters
January 12 - March 23, 2019

JASKO BEGOVIC (SKO HABIBI): HUMAN_E.T.
November 30 - December 14, 2019

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

FEMALE TROUBLE
June 9 - July 28, 2018

TERRI LOEWENTHAL: Psychscapes
March 2 - May 19, 2018

VECINOS
October 27, 2017 - January 20, 2018

RHONDA HOLBERTON: Still Life
January 10 – March 4, 2017

REBEKAH GOLDSTEIN: Release Me
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

SHE MOONAGE DAYDREAM:
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

FRANCESCO IGORY DEIANA: Haptic Render
September 11- October 31, 2015

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

ADAM SORENSEN: In Situ
May 1 - June 27, 2015

KLARA KÄLLSTRÖM & THOBIAS FÄLDT: Village / High Hills
February 27 - April 25, 2015

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

JOSEPH DUMBACHER & JOHN DUMBACHER: Divert (Out of Line)
November 7, 2014 – January 16, 2015

REBEKAH GOLDSTEIN: Passenger
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

JACQUELINE KIYOMI GORDON: Drawings
March 7 – April 19, 2014

FRITZ CHESNUT: Purr Valley
& 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

RHONDA HOLBERTON: Still Life 2
April 7 - May 26, 2018

LAS COSAS QUE PINTAN / PAINTING IN AN EXPANSIVE FIELD
Works by Miguel Arzabe & Juan Sorrentino

April 9 – May 17, 2015

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