Desire, Emotion, Knowledge
duchess, Chicago 2007
duchess is pleased to present Howard Fonda: Desire, Emotion Knowledge. This is the first solo exhibition of Fonda’s work in Chicago. Fonda's sincere and introspective paintings are made alla prima, in one sitting. This urgency of mark results in a raw and visceral surface reminiscent of an underpainting, but with the craft and precision of finish. With subject matter ranging from the representational to the abstract; from portraiture to landscape; from allegorical narrative to spiritual sublime – Fonda confronts meaning and truth with an honesty and sincerity often absent in contemporary painting. A journey of spirit and a journey of mind, Fonda beckons us to join him with desire, emotion, and knowledge.
Time Out Chicago, Issue 111: April 12 - 18, 2007
"At first glance, Howard Fonda's paintings appear unfinished - not careless, but tentative. Yet one is drawn in quickly. There is an order to them in the way the image is constructed with paint. That's especially the case with one untitled work, in which the image of a hand holding a microscopic sphere is broken down into shapes, which are in turn rendered in parallel brushstrokes. The lines go in different directions or angles, and these forms intersect to make a dynamic composition. Some groups of shapes make faces, hands or landscapes; others are just moments of abstraction. The paintings in the show also function cumulatively as different works embodying separate aspects of the theme. 'Everything', a woman's torso transfigured by a burst of energetic beams of light, encapsulates "desire" and "emotion". The scholarly man pictured in 'Light From the Mouth or Near the Beginning', an image is seen right-side up and upside down, like the two-faced god Janus. Does this necessarily imply "knowledge", or merely suggest two different approaches toward an academic theory? Many of the works take on more than one possible meaning, and their playful construction is miorrored in the content.
- Erik Wenzel