Buy Local wall text, all images courtesy of the author
I originally wrote this piece for Hyperallergic but it didn't work out time-wise. I loved this show so much I wanted to share it.

While the vast majority of the New York art world gathered for Armory Arts Week, I decided to do something quite the opposite: explore the art world in my own backyard. North Brooklyn had a formidable showing during Armory week, as Williamsburg hosted “Brooklyn Night” (affiliated with the Armory events), Bushwick hosted its renowned “Beat Nite” and Greenpoint bloggers The Greenpointers held a Greenpoint gallery tour.

Detail of a Susan Fang piece

Well-aware that my very own Greenpoint neighborhood is home to tons of artists’ studios and notable galleries, I was curious to see who would appear on the tour. As I began following the map, I realized about half of the locations were bars and cafes, making it kind of difficult to see a lot of the work (dim lighting and all). Deciding to power through, I ended up at the Franklin Street home of the Fowler Arts Collective.

A piece by Brian Willmont
And thank goodness that I did. While my evening started with seeing some lackluster figurative work, I needed something to challenge me. I was reminded of a coworker of mine who rhetorically asks of artists, “what moves you?” Finally, I found something that moved me at Fowler. Buy Local is a smart show in Fowler’s gallery space featuring Susan Fang, Maria Rajewski, Samuel Stabler, and Brian Willmont.

A piece by Susan Fang
Susan Fang’s work blew me away. Whatever, I never say that about anything. Fang had an array of pieces that were exactly what I wanted to see. Using distorted collage: layers painstakingly cut into abstract shapes, creepy compositions, and weirdly biological geometry, Fang brings us into her controlled world. The composition and texture of each piece evoked decay in a way that reminded me of old flyers, torn apart and layered one atop the other on a telephone pole.

A piece by Susan Fang

Fang's other work consisted of sculptures of tee shirts and one of a studded leather jacket. Also adorned with punk band logos (like that of FEAR), it seems like a play on the art-making that goes into studding and painting punk jackets in the first place.

Jacket sculpture by Susan Fang

Detail of jacket sculpture by Susan Fang

Maria Rajewski's abstract paintings reminded me of what I love about Bushwick artists Brooke Moyse and Julie Torres' bright palettes and abstract compositions, though Rajewski's handling is clearly her own. Rajewski's work adds a playful aspect to the show, lightening the eerie mood a bit.

Work by Maria Rajewski
Work by Maria Rajewski

Brian Willmont's fantastic geometrical symbols and portals (pictured above) serve as beautiful designs as well as mesmerizing black holes. Throughout the show, Buy Local establishes a rhythm: Samuel Stabler's patterning (somewhere between figurative and abstract, pictured below), Willmont's geometrics, Fang's sculptural decay and Rajewski's shapes of color. They work together. With such a strong suit in just one corner of my neighborhood, Fowler Arts Collective has single-handedly pushed me to find what else is out there, too.

Works by Samuel Stabler

Buy Local ran from March 10th, 2012 through March 25th, 2012 at Fowler Arts Collective, 67 West Street #216, Brooklyn, NY.

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