Business in the Front, Party in the Back
JANUARY 30 – MARCH 11, 2008
Please join us Friday, January 30th from 8-10 p.m. as Art Palace presents Business in the Front, Party in the Back, a solo exhibition of new work by Austin-based artist Heyd Fontenot.
Along his lengthy creative journey, Fontenot has assumed varied roles: art director, designer, producer, filmmaker and painter. Regardless of the medium, Fontenot tends to revisit the themes of sexuality and morality as can be seen in this most recent body of work – a collection of nude portraits.
The show’s title – Business in the Front, Party in the Back – is borrowed from a humorous description of a passé’ hairstyle. The “mullet” was a new wave mélange that incorporated both short and long hair. It tried to accommodate a professional façade while giving a glimpse into the wearer’s wilder, rebellious side. Seeking legitimacy has it complications, and it’s awkward results.
It’s common experience in this culture to have intense feelings and confused reactions to the nude. This body of work – equal parts playful, cheerful, erotic, and sincere – forces the viewer to confront their own discomfort or anxiety about nudity. There is the historical precedence of instead saying “nude” and requesting that the work be viewed respectfully and without carnal response. Sexual expression is a metaphor for communication. According to Fontenot, what attracts him most to this particular art form are the social politics, personalities and relationships, either actual or fictionalized. “As social animals, forming social groups is a matter of survival. It is integral to our existence that we remain and function as communal and cooperative,” said Fontenot.
About the artist:
Heyd Fontenot was born in 1964 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He has lived and worked in Austin, Texas since 1989. Since his last exhibition at Art Palace in 2006 (East Meats West), he has participated in exhibitions at Conduit Gallery in Dallas (2008) as well as the Pouch Cove Foundation in Newfoundland, Canada (2007) where he was a resident artist. He was also awarded Dallas Museum of Art’s prestigious Dozier Travel Grant (2007). His work has been included in exhibitions at Diverseworks (Houston, TX), the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield, CT) and Inman Gallery (Houston, TX).