Jack Fischer Gallery - Minnesota Street Project
1275 Minnesota St, San Francisco
Tue - Sat: 11:30 - 5:30 pm, First Saturdays: open until 8 pm
Julian Watts: particles
Sep 08-Oct 13
Jack Fischer Gallery is pleased to present particles, the first solo exhibition in San Francisco by Julian Watts. This will also be Watts’s first exhibition at the gallery. Join us for the opening reception on Saturday, September 8, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at our Minnesota Street Project location. The show will run through October 13, 2018.
In this series of new works, the artist attempts to break out of his confines of referencing everyday functional objects such as spoons and bowls, and focuses on exploring more subtle and abstract ideas about the human body and its natural environment. For the first time, Watts is showing drawings and large-scale stone carvings, the farthest he has pushed himself towards fine art and installation art. It is also the first series of works that Watts has made since moving to rural Oregon.
The artist states: “My work uses traditional wood carving and furniture making techniques to explore the space between sculptural form and functional object. This process originated through the use of everyday utilitarian objects like wooden utensils as a point of departure, following their formal, functional, and cultural threads to their most extreme and surreal endpoints. Recently, these explorations of utilitarian objects have evolved into pure sculptural abstraction. I deconstruct the formal language of the designed world around us: vessels, handles, holes, rims, curves, and draw out the ways that they interact with and reflect the human body. By working at the intersection of art, craft, and design, I am able to further interrogate these relationships to the human body, creating experimental furniture that subverts functionality, or sculptural work that solicits interaction with the human body. This dynamic establishes a playful and unsettling intimacy in the work, one that is exemplified by the hand-carved approach to form and texture, accentuating the inherently organic and irregular qualities of the natural materials. Abstract drawing plays an essential role in translating these ideas into physical form, and much of my carving references hand-drawn lines and India ink painting, juxtaposing delicate, ephemeral gestures with the strength and rigidity of wood or stone. The ultimate goal of this intimate abstraction through traditional craft is to create an ecosystem of both sculptural and functional works that challenge the viewer to reconsider their preconceptions about the objects that make up the world around us.”
About the artist:
Julian Watts is an artist and woodworker based in Alpine, Oregon. Born and raised in San Francisco, he spent his youth in his fathers sculpture studio, eventually leaving to study at the University of Oregon where he received a BFA in sculpture and a certificate in folklore studies. After graduating, he returned to San Francisco where he worked under several fine furniture makers, learning traditional woodworking techniques. This combination of contemporary art and traditional woodworking influences laid the foundation for his art practice, beginning with experimental hand carved spoons and bowls, and currently encompassing wooden sculpture, furniture making, drawing, painting, music, and stone carving. He is represented by Patrick Parrish and BDDW in New York, and shows with Jack Fischer Gallery and Heath Ceramics in San Francisco and Los Angeles. His work has been shown at Fog Fair, Design Miami, the London Design Festival, and Salone del Mobile Milan. He has been featured in publications such as Architectural Digest, American Craft Magazine, The New Yorker, as well as numerous others. His work has been included at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art and The London Design Museum, where he was recently honored as a finalist for the Loewe Craft Prize. Outside of his studio practice, Watts has taught at Anderson Ranch Arts Center and was recently named Wornick Distinguished Visiting Professor of Wood Arts at California College of the Arts.
Image (left to right): Pink Statue 1, 2018, alabaster, 12 x 12 x 9.5 inches, Pink Statue 2, 2018, alabaster, 26.5 x 8.5 x 7.5 inches, Pink Statue 3, 2018, alabaster, 21 x 11 x 8 inches.