Asad Faulwell paints decorative, floral arabesques reminiscent of Islamic textiles, manuscripts and ceramics, which serve as the armature for cut-out black and white press photos of key figures within the turbulent social and political history of the Middle East. Faulwell’s intricate mixed-media works, which intertwine digitally manipulated photographs of historical figures from the Middle East among floral and geometric patterning reminiscent of that found in the Islamic world, hearken also to the Pattern and Decoration (P&D) movement in American and European painting of the 1970s. But while P&D flaunted its indulgence in decorative codes and motifs from cultures far and wide chiefly as a designed affront to the dominance of masculinist and reductivist late-modern Western aesthetics, Faulwell goes a step further, making decorative objects for consumption in an internationalist context, but with focus on a canon of sociopolitical history that ranges from celebrating Algerian women freedom fighters to mapping the political histories of Iran and Afghanistan.
(Excerpt from Los Angeles Weekly, Christopher Miles)
Of his own work, Faulwell says: “My work explores the relationship between political faith and religious faith through the historical examination of the political climate in the post World War Two Middle East. Through works about various rulers and movements in the region as well as female Algerian freedom fighters I attempt to re-examine these important moments in history while delving into the conflicts between religion and politics at this time while also acknowledging the similarities religion and politics share. Many of my works reference Islamic, Jewish and Christian art as well as more contemporary methods of painting, digital media and collage. My works combines digitally manipulated photographs of historical figures cut out into geometric and organic patterns with carious elements of abstract painting. Some of the collage elements are flat others have dimensionality. Some of the paint is applied in layers of flat thin washes or opaque line work while other elements are applied with texture and dimensionality. Through my work I hope to re-examine history while also touching on the broader social, religious and politics issues related to these historical events that still effect our lives today.”