October 21 — November 26, 2016
Conduit Gallery is honored to present Heyd Fontenot’s solo exhibition, KULT KLASSIC, his third at Conduit Gallery since 2008. The artist will present his trademark figurative drawings and paintings alongside unexpected objects in an "inhabited installation”. Patrons will also get a sneak peek at Fontenot's ongoing film project “Flaming Critters", an homage to filmmaker Jack Smith and exploitation films of the 20th Century which attempted to dramatize counter culture.
Fontenot's studio practice for the past 16 years has been largely focused on nude figurative painting and drawing. He recruits people from his everyday life to be his subjects and models. During this process, he's created hundreds of individual portraits as well as a comprehensive portrait of his inner circle over the last two decades.
There is a particular mission in Fontenot's studio work to reclaim the human body from mass media constructions - the assertion of perfection and the rejection of our physical forms on the basis that they are flawed. There’s also an attempt to rescue the body from conservative religious notions that there is something inherently shameful with our nakedness or our desires. Fontenot comments, “Even though artists have depicted the nude for centuries, as a contemporary artist working with the figure, I find that it’s still politically charged. Humans have the tendency to sexualize nudity but then have such inner conflict with their own interest in sexuality. That dichotomy is my jumping off point."
For KULT KLASSIC, Fontenot will incorporate the decorative arts to examine fantasies of domestic havens, consumer culture and design fetish as a literal construction of romantic coupling.
Heyd Fontenot is director of CentralTrak, UTDallas' international artists' residency program and exhibition space located in Dallas’ Expo Park neighborhood. Prior to his career as a curator and arts administrator, he inhabited a variety of artistic roles including designer, art director, producer, working with theatrical groups, retail businesses, and television & film production companies. With his role as director of the residency program and chief curator of the exhibition space, Fontenot has encouraged experimental works and cultivated several artistic collaborations.
Fontenot is an interdisciplinary artist, having developed a significant body of work in the early 1990’s as an experimental filmmaker while his current studio practice is largely focused on figurative painting and drawing. His background in film has led to an ongoing interest and capability to physically manifest installations or “sets” onto which his paintings and drawings are installed. Fontenot’s exceptionally designed and detailed environments point to the connections Fontenot illustrates between design and sexual fetish e.g., Fontenot’s two previous solo exhibitions at Conduit Gallery, 2012’s Homosexuals Are Ruining My Life and 2009’s Get Your Wood On.
One and two-person exhibitions since 2010 include: Mountain View College, Dallas, TX (2014); the Wrong Store, Marfa, TX (2013); Beige, Memphis, TN (2013); Allegheny College, Meadville, PA (2012); Inman Gallery, Houston, TX (2011); Rollins College, Winter Park, FL (2011) and the University of Maryland, College Park, FL (2010.)
Glasstire review of KULT KLASSIC written by Christina Rees, photography by Kevin Todora
Glasstire Interview with Heyd Fontenot & GT writer Colette Copeland
Glasstire 'Not a Hobby' Podcast with Heyd Fontenot, interviewed by Ariane Roech
Dallas Morning News profile of Heyd Fontenot - published Nov. 15, 2016
written by Lee Escobedo, photography by Nan Coulter