Expanded Contemporary Drawing Practices encourages dialogues about the evolving medium of drawing. Featured artists share their strategies. As a research project, the blog strives to present a broad spectrum of non-traditional approaches and create a forum for artists, educators, and related organizations. It is a framework for consideration for what drawing can be.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Brent Fogt: Order from Chaos
I create labor-intensive
drawings, collages and installations that explore ideas about organic growth,
in particular the natural order that emerges from chaos. The work can be read
at both micro and macro levels, from histology slides to topographic maps, from
birds’ nests to coral reefs.
My materials are simple: paper,
canvas, ink, jute, sisal, glue, graphite, and organic materials that I collect
while walking. I am attracted to humble materials because of their accessible, democratic
nature and connection to our everyday experiences. Linear materials such as
yarn, long a staple in my relatives’ homes when I was growing up, allow me to
extend my drawings into three dimensions through hand crocheting or hand
I build each work slowly—-mark
by mark, piece by piece and stitch by stitch—-following a flexible set of
rules. One recurring rule in my drawing practice, for instance, is to limit
myself to one shape, the circle. As I draw, marks accumulate over a long period
of time, often months, to form patterns and shapes. Similarly, in my sculptural
work, knots and stitches accrete and gradually morph into nest-like structures.
I begin each piece with just a general sense of how I want it to look, leaving
ample space for improvisation and elements of chance. My process embraces
mystery and uncertainty, and welcomes surprises.
With holes that serve as entry
and exit points, the work is meant to contain and extend the human body and to
create a symbiotic relationship between art and body. My surfaces are web-like
and porous. They act as nets with the potential to protect or, more
threateningly, to trap.
Place is also central to my
work, influencing not only how the work is made but also how it is displayed.
For example, in a recent installation in the alley next to the Chicago Theatre,
I used colors such as deep purples, reds and yellows to contrast with the flat
grey of the theatre’s brick exterior and repurposed the fire escapes as
supports for my hanging sculptures. I am interested in reflecting or embodying
specific places in my work. In a project I call “rain drawings,” I scatter
ink-soaked leaves, grass and branches on paper to create a trace or record of a
place or moment.
Born in Ohio, raised in Texas, and currently based in
Chicago, Brent Fogt creates intricate drawings and installations that reference
plants, maps and microscopic organisms. Brent’s work has been featured in New American Paintings, Art in America and hyperallergic.com and in solo exhibitions at Austin College, Emory
University, Indiana University and the Lawndale Art Center. He has completed
artist residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Djerassi Resident Artists
Program and Yaddo. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of
Michigan and a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.