For “Unfinished Business,” Jody Fausett’s third show at Whitespace gallery, Fausett focuses on more realistic imagery that symbolize a rebirth for him as an artist and person. He continues the narrative about his family and his hometown in rural Georgia by using them as subjects for his work. Yet, he is interested in exploring areas that he has never noticed or captured before. In one photograph, he is literally drawing back the curtain to reveal a new, unseen subject for his work. He continues to see the sublime in what others might view as the mundane or ordinary. For example in Lace, Fausett captures an intricate spider web that connects a perfectly sculpted bush to an austere, state-of-the-art air conditioner. In this new body of work, he has eliminated the tricks and pared down the work to reveal the beauty and imperfection of nature.
As before, “Unfinished Business” continues to express Fausett’s fascination with novel luxuries. Tropical plants, found birds, clippings, roses, grasshoppers, and snakes replace the taxidermy animals from his earlier series. These exotic treasures mingle with and among his subjects, adding a constructed layer to reality. The work attempts to express the juxtaposition of imperfect truth and heightened reality. Despite efforts to achieve perfection, human vulnerability surfaces in these photographs, thus revealing the truth and one’s defects and imperfections. In Red, the viewer sees a clean and pressed bright red tablecloth with a beautifully arranged plate of fruit in the center. The fruit serves as a still life with a spotlight directed to intensify the colors and highlight the focal point of the photograph. However, this perfection is an illusion. The table only appears like this on Christmas day. Any other day of the year, it would be unidentifiable because of numerous bags, piles of paper, and various items that accumulate on the surface.
In “Unfinished Business,” what is missing is more important than what is visible. The noticeable absence of the men in Fausett’s family is a reminder of the loss his family has endured. The women are the survivors and his subjects, which encourages him to create great female portraiture. In the diptych, Acid Yellow (Other Voices, Other Rooms), Jody’s sister is the model for a present-day funerary. She wears a homemade veil fashioned from a bright yellow lemon bag. By her side, lies a found dead bird, which represents the passing of Fausett’s grandfather. The bird’s levitating feather also parallels Truman Capote’s novel of the same name. In the story, a child watches as someone tries to capture a blue jay that has flown into the room. One of the feathers becomes trapped in a spider web and appears suspended in mid-air as if by magic. A central theme in Capote’s novel is a boy’s need to find his father, which ties into Fausett’s choice to highlight the absence of his grandfather and the other men of the family. The other half of the piece shows a bedroom adorned with formal curtains and bedding in contrast with the messy side table and dirty clothes. This photograph illustrates the meeting of the simple and mundane with what Fausett calls “rural baroque,” a constant throughout the series.
Jody Fausett currently lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. He has shown his work both regionally and nationally, which has included gallery and museum spaces. In early 2011, the Museum of Modern Art Georgia recognized Jody Fausett as an up-and-coming local talent, and his work was shown in the corresponding Movers & Shakers: MOCA GA Salutes the Rising Stars of the Georgia Arts Scene at MOCA GA. Possible Futures also selected Fausett’s work for Atlanta Art Now’s first book, NoPlaceness: Art in a Post-Urban Landscape, which explores the ways in which local Atlanta-based artists are tackling ideas of place in a complex world. The 2011 edition launches on November 8, 2011.
Through November 26.
814 Edgewood Avenue