FRED STONEHOUSE: Natural Family
September 8, 2018 - October 13, 2018
Artist Reception: Saturday, Sept. 8, 5-8pm
George Billis Gallery is pleased to present the gallery’s first solo exhibition of paintings by Fred Stonehouse. The exhibition, “Natural Family,” features the artist’s recent body of work and continues through October 13th.
Stonehouse writes of his work, “the narratives in my work have focused on a variety of topics at different times. In the past I have addressed everything from contemporary politics, to history, absurd humor, personal psychology and the existential nature of the human condition, but lately I have been thinking a great deal about the idea of family and the ways in which I do and don’t fit into mine.
Families can be paradoxical for artists in the sense that they take pride in and encourage one’s creative individuality while simultaneously insisting on absolute conformity to norms of the family structure. It’s essentially tribal in the sentiment that ‘it’s okay to not be one of them, as long as you are one of us’. The seemingly inborn longing for connection with family is at odds with the cultural imperative to “find your path.”
The imagery in “Natural Family” uses humans, animals and human/animal hybrids to represent the duality of embracing the domestic norms of family while nurturing the natural, even primal impulse to create. I think that many of these new paintings and works on paper exist as reflections on the nuances of how we understand ourselves as part of a family, whatever that might mean, and the urge to both cherish it and escape its chains. Families have the capacity to foster moments of great joy as well as lingering sorrow, pain and regret. It is this complex and sometimes confusing nature of family that I’m fascinated by and attempting to explore in this body of work and while I don’t claim to necessarily provide any answers to the conundrum it represents, I hope that this work can help to show that beauty and meaning can be found there.”
Fred Stonehouse was born in 1960 in Milwaukee, WI. He received his BFA from UW Milwaukee in 1982. He had his first solo show in Chicago in 1983 and shows regularly in New York at Howard Scott Gallery and in Los Angeles with Koplin/DelRio. He has exhibited in Mexico, Amsterdam, Rome and Berlin. He has been the recipient of an NEA Arts Midwest Grant and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Individual Artists Grant. He is currently an Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Wisconsin.