Dex Fernandez is a graffiti artist from Manila, Philippines, He combines the frenzied energy and speedy overall-designs of his street murals and characters with mixed-media constructions to produce eccentrically decorated images and installations. Often, Fernandez uses his own digital photographs as a base upon which he builds colorful hand-painted design motifs that range from pure pattern to religious symbols, body parts, cartoons, and tattoos. His work references both high and low art, history and biology, beauty and crudeness, innocence and sexuality. Fernandez expresses himself through a wide range of formats, including wall murals, street sticker art, altered photographs and even fashion and accessories. The world is very much his canvas, he is both influenced by and paints on it.
For the last several months Fernandez has been in the United States participating in the Asian Arts Council residency program *. This exhibition is an amalgam of many aspects of the artist’s output, including some of the work he has constructed through the residency. Fernandez recently completed an animation which is projected on one of the gallery’s walls. Entitled "Walkin' round the hood's effin awesome with my favorite loafers" the black and white film is a series of shifting biomorphic forms that bring the artist’s mural work to life. The film is accentuated by an electronic soundtrack that Fernandez composed at the same time, syncopated in a defibrillated dissonance that is itself one of the creatures we are watch form and dissolve.
This colorless apparition is contrasted by the rest of the exhibition, which includes a mural that the artist has constructed on the gallery's now fluorescent yellow main wall. Engaging with the wall work are a series of Fernandez’s mixed-media collages. Based on digital photographs he has taken of friends and fellow artists, Dex hand-paints intricate and colorful patterns and shapes on and around the figures. These design motifs range from pure pattern to religious symbols, body parts, cartoons, and tattoo. They exaggerate and distort the faces of the subjects, acting almost like masks that partially obscure individual identities. The painted illustrations are combined with embroidered details, which the artist stitches using bright neon-colored thread. These works interact with the wall mural they are installed on with the addition of cut-out paper shapes. Also biomorphic, brightly colored and densely illustrated, these details extend the picture’s designs outside the physical borders of the photographs, and in this way become a part of the wall mural itself.
While he has been in New York City the artist has also been placing his sticker art around the city, on buildings, subways and everywhere in-between. The stickers are the artist’s creation called Garapata, a many legged creature that was inspired by the ticks that invaded his house via family pets when he was a child. These hand-painted creatures have now been set loose to invade the city, in places both unusual and familiar alike.
The opening of the exhibition will be accompanied by a live drum machine performance by sound artist Jefferson Wells. This event is part of the 10th edition ofAsia Contemporary Art Week (ACAW) – A dynamic platform that connects over 40 New York and Asia based art institutions to present cutting-edge exhibitions, innovative projects, provocative dialogues and festivities. We are excited to be a participating member of this citywide event.
* The Asian Cultural Council supports cultural exchange by awarding grants to artists, scholars, and arts and humanities professionals, as well as organizations and educational institutions from the United States and Asia for research, study, and creative work in the United States and Asia and within the countries of Asia. Since 1963, ACC has made approximately 6,000 grants to individuals and organizations representing a wide range of creative disciplines and a vast geography