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My love of experimentation is the driving force behind my collages, sculptures, and drawings. I constantly ask myself “what would happen if….?” and try out new techniques, taking my cues directly from the materials he works with, such as abandoned furniture, vintage catalogs and weathered books — objects with a specific history. Without a predetermined outcome in mind, I test how individual components can be severed, joined, overlapped, combined, and recombined until they constitute a whole or near-whole.
My influences include Dada, Post-Minimalism, Arte Povera, and contemporary artists such as Mark Bradford, Michael Dean, Sonia Gomes, Rachel Harrison, Charles Long, Jessica Stockholder, and Kostis Velonis. I am also fascinated with pop-cultural phenomena from my childhood. Examples include sharks, kung fu, Evil Knievel, disco, punk rock, and prog rock.
Below is the entirety of Jason Foumberg's essay for my solo exhibition at the Chicago Artists Coalition in 2018.
Brent Fogt’s Chance Statues
By Jason Foumberg
The thing about sculpture is that only one person can touch it. Only one set of hands gets to be physical; only those hands can tell you what to see. This is the seductive myth of gallery sculpture in a culture of individualism, in contrast to the invisible hands that attend the found-material sculptures of Brent Fogt for his exhibition “Do Something Else” in which composite objects pose like independent structures, collected by Fogt from the city’s stream of stray things. Simultaneously authorless and burnished by a thousand limbs, Fogt’s pieces are as smooth as the shared language that sculpts the hollows of your hot mouth.
I believe that Fogt flirts with the idea that artists have a magic touch. He tests this method with various materials and transformations: concrete, crotchet, gravity, paint, cut book pages and dust. He knows that geometries can be dismantled into smaller solids and that time is infinite but we are rusted by our own era. We are animated bones, not metaphors. Fogt is engaged in a creative ritual to manipulate his materials into alignment. Turtles and birds do this with the magnets in their heads. Fogt’s sculptures are not cast bronze and they’re not going to commemorate a hero or an official history. They will do the opposite of that: commemorate sagging time.
Does sagging time make you anxious? Or is it kind of funny? Neither precious nor random, Fogt’s series of abstract sculptures are interchangeable, like the thousand infants borne of an archetype, genetic variations within limits. In other words, the mind can only catch what the universe excretes.
Fogt’s chance statues step out of the Existentialism swamp. They’re a chair you can’t quite sit in or a ladder you can’t quite climb, a mortality that fits like the wrong size of pants. There’s a missing body or too many of them. The material that is missing may be you. How do you describe the substance that’s between what we desire and what we get? How do you sculpt that?
Jason Foumberg is an art critic who contributes reviews, artist profiles, and arts features to Chicago Magazine, The Art Newspaper, Artfourm.com, and Photograph. He is also curator of digital art at the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation.