4 Weeks / 4 Shows
Opening reception with performance by Disaster Wednesday April 9th 7-9 pm, performance 8 pm sharp
Closing reception with performance by BARR Saturday April 19th 7-9 pm, performance 8 pm sharp
Brendan Fowler, a conceptual artist living is Los Angeles, is best known for BARR, his ongoing music/performance/object+ephemera project. BARR sits somewhere on the far side of the "art about rock" cannon, pondering the "rock about art" banner it often flies over head. But "rock" as a description is nearly too neat, surely too succinct for something that is in fact more of a deconstruction than anything: songs directly address their own shortcomings; a picture of the process by which they were created becomes much of the end result. BARR performances explore the spaces in which Fowler’s body performs before the audience songs taken from records about spaces for audiences, continuing the process as it presents itself live and in real time.
Fowler’s most recent performance project/band, Disaster, began as a direct address to what he sees as the growing roster of bands with socially questionable names (Aids Wolf, Jay Reatard etc.). In doing so, Fowler created a project he himself would find morally negligent in hopes of understanding their motives. Using rough and obvious samples, Disaster intends to appeal as much as irritate. This darker spirited performance stands in stark contrast to BARR, which, historically has been about "helping people to feel less alone, (and) ideally empowered." Fowler's work is about exploding the process of creation as much as it is about continuously navigating the turns of basic existence, while documenting and celebrating the journey, scrapes and all.
Fowler's text pieces-cum-sculptural objects act as both real and fictionalized ephemera associated with BARR and Disaster. Often using his own song lyrics as their base, these pieces further overlap and serve as static examples of the ideas explored in Fowler’s performative and sound works.
As solo unit (or occasional band), BARR has released records on luminary punk record labels Kill Rock Stars and Upset The Rhythm! and toured the US and Europe alongside art-rock heavyweights Animal Collective, Tracy+The Plastics and Xiu Xiu. But as an art world figure, Fowler has performed and exhibited at David Kordansky Gallery, LA, Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco, Dietch Projects, New York, The Mu Foundation, Eindhoven, Holland, Yerba Buena Center For The Arts, San Francisco and The Kitchen, New York.
The Wire , Album review, March 2007
By Nick Southgate
UPSET THE RHYTHM CD/LP
Half-sung, half-spoken, but always heartfelt, raw and honest, Summary is the brainchild and confessional vehicle of Brendan Fowler. Using spare instrumental song backings of little more than a beat and uncoloured guitar or piano, Fowler delivers essays and epiphanies on the fracture lines and foibles of urban middle youth. The title track's line, "I'll talk about everything/I'll talk about every square inch of this record/Every square fucking inch", could be an ad hoc manifesto for Summary's self-examining tone, from the upbeat "The Song Is The Single", a wry and warm dig at music industry norms, tot he bruising "Untitled". The performance poetry event that had Alan Bennett pulling off his finest East Coast accent to recreate The Velvet Underground's "The Gift" with The Patti Smith Band providing the background chops sadly never happened. This album, though, is a worthy heir.