Heyd Fontenot at Conduit Gallery, Nov 20, 2021
With the artist’s fourth solo exhibition at Conduit Gallery, Fontenot is once again pushing buttons and holding a mirror up to the status quo’s inconsistent morality. With a mixture of large-scale painting, nude portraiture, textual signage and sculptural installation the artist leaves his quarantine pod in San Antonio to bring Dallas his latest exhibition: “Color! Pattern! Propaganda!”
Apparently, there is evaporating interest in truth or facts, which leaves the artist wondering why people have embraced lying. They’ve even been able to capitalize on it – radio hosts and tv personalities have half of America on a steady diet of misinformation. Some might say …propaganda. During this pandemic, unethical and politicized reportage allowed time for a deadly virus to mutate. It turns out that misinformation can be monetized and neatly feeds into advertising, consumerism, political, media and religious allegiance.
Thou Shall Not Lie, ….Unless It Strengthens One’s Cause. God will understand.
Fontenot’s work has often been censored, and as truly horrid phrases enter the American lexicon that define our era like “Grab them by the pussy” and “Fuck your feelings”, the artist struggles to understand the meaning of “Obscene or Inappropriate Content”. Disturbing not so much for their inclusion of four-letter words, as they are for their intention to abuse and disenfranchise. These verbal aggressions developed in America’s pseudo-spiritual environments of hot-house, flag-waiving mega churches that hold religious rites so that AR-15’s can receive a holy blessing. (not a parody)
Thou Shall Not Kill…. Unless You’re In a Really Bad Mood. God will understand.
The current state of culture wars seems desperate, and while the artist’s upbringing in the American South stressed good manners, he is realizing that it may not be the best course to maintaining a polite and respectful façade in the face of fascism taking ahold of his homeland. Maybe it’s a good time to push back.