Into Existence illustrates dreams and ideas that Fowler wants to bring into being. The title echoes words of encouragement—almost a mantra—that the artist’s grandmother often says: “You need to speak it into existence.” At once paintings, sculptures, and installations, the works are densely layered with meaning and materiality.
Massive in scale, the works are made with materials sourced from the artist’s surroundings in Los Angeles and St. Louis, including cotton balls, afro wigs, hair weaves, broken mirrors, djellabas, sand, car parts, ropes, and lights. With references to American history, Black culture, contemporary public icons, and the artist’s family history, the works present real and imagined scenarios that are both universal and deeply personal.
In addition to this solo exhibition, staged in the museum’s Gwendolyn Knight & Jacob Lawrence Gallery, Fowler received a $10,000 award to further his artistic practice.
Aaron Fowler: Into Existence is curated by Sandra Jackson-Dumont, Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From 2006–2014, Jackson-Dumont was Deputy Director for Education and Public Programs/Adjunct Curator in Modern and Contemporary Art at SAM. Jackson-Dumont will be Director and CEO at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles beginning in January 2020.
Aaron Fowler (b. 1988; St. Louis, MO) received his MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2014 and his BFA from the Pennsylvania Academy Fine Arts in 2011. He was an artist-in-residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2014 and was the recipient of the Rema Host Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant in 2015. Fowler has exhibited throughout the United States and abroad, including shows at Saatchi Gallery, SCAD Museum of Art, The Rubell Family Collection, Beeler Gallery, Columbus College of Art and Design (solo), Diane Rosenstein Gallery (solo), and the Studio Museum in Harlem. He lives and works in Harlem, Los Angeles, and St. Louis. For more information, visit aaronfowler.art.