The current issue of TOKION Magazine features a profile on AJ Fosik. The artist was photographed for the spread, wearing one of his pieces as a mask! The piece was featured as part of our program at SCOPE-Miami , from Dec 2—6, 2009. Please scroll down to read the full text of the article, or click HERE.
Published : November 19th, 2009
Text Morgen Van Vorst
Photographer Kyle Ferino
IDOLS OF ABSURDITY
Artist AJ Fosik gets existential
AJ Fosik makes art that’s impossible to pass by. It’s big, it’s powerful, and it elicits a response that feels hard-wired: I want to run, I want to hide, but I must look. Ranging in scale from life-size to bigger-than (and we’re talking polar bear–size in a number of instances), and with a palate that is as joyful as it is provocative (hibiscus pink, hornet yellow, September-sky blue), Fosik’s sculptures are beguilingly familiar. They evoke a mash of spiritual iconography—from Native American totems to the wrathful deities of Tibetan thangkas—with thousands of pieces of cut and painted plywood layered featherlike into arresting animal forms and masks.
What might seem at first to be its own expression of idolatry is Fosik’s deliberate nudge at what he regards as irrational infrastructures. As he sees them, his sculptures of powerful animal and otherworldly creatures are trophies to the triumph of reason over superstition. “I’m a big subscriber to Camus and the idea of absurdism,” Fosik offers by way of explanation. The governing philosophy of the absurd? Man’s search for meaning in an apparently meaningless world is futile. “I use semispiritual iconography to get at that.”
Lucky for us, Fosik’s road to that conclusion is paved with more delight than sarcasm, and with an undeniable display of true craft and talent. A graduate of Parsons in illustration with little patience for sitting in front of a computer all day, Fosik set out to paint. He soon found himself experimenting with salvaged materials, building his art out from two-dimensional surfaces to three-dimensional constructions. Sculpture is much more unforgiving than painting or drawing. It’s onerous for galleries (to pack, ship, unload, display), it’s more difficult to sell, and as Fosik explained to me, it’s impossible to get an accurate visual on a piece before you’ve added the final touches. Despite these challenges, Fosik’s art is displayed around the world, and his studio is busy with a stream of commissions.
Peripatetic by nature, Fosik has avoided settling too long in any one place. He relishes “being attached to nowhere,” but with an ever-expanding woodshop and an increasingly specialized skill set (it’s hard to pass a power tool over to an assistant), Fosik is staying put these days. As a man who reveres the folk-art tradition—art he considers more honest than puffed up—and who subscribes firmly to the idea of affecting change with each creative act, Fosik is a fitting realist for our age.
AJ Fosik : http://jonathanlevineprojects.com