Works (with) on paper by Adam Fowler

My own personal taste in art work normally trends away from abstraction to the more figurative with some social or political content thrown in for good measure. However, my usual "that's gorgeous, but its been done before" response to non-figurative work was stifled and I was rendered speechless after seeing Adam Fowler's works on paper at Margaret Thatcher Projects on Chelsea's West 23rd. The show is up only for a few more weeks and its important to see them in person (I am sure they will be happy to show you some even after the show ends) because the jpegs just do not do them justice. Fowler freely and gesturally draws a line on a paper (not unlike the Abstract Expressionists or Cy Twombley's scribbles) and then cuts out the drawn line from the paper. After laboriously doing this a couple hundred times, he arranges and layers these cut out lines within a frame. Some works, which can be categorized as "Works on Paper" but are also very sculptural given their three-dimensionality and texture within the frame, range from the very large, where you can enjoy the dualistic nature of the symmetry and asymmetry of his arrangements, to the very small, where you can revel in the delicate forms he has created (almost like looking at lace). There is a strong tension between the very obsessive, intense elements and the kind of quiet zen from the repetition of layers and the kind of naturalistic quality of the work (I am reminded of tall swaying grass in the wind). The work is graphite on paper which creates a varying degrees of gray and white in the work. There is no color to distract the viewer from really studying the process of the artist and the forms that he has created. For me, the process of the artist is completely unique, as was this rare experience I had with his body of abstract art works.