Adam Feibelman is a San Francisco based artist whose childhood in Albuquerque, New Mexico was spent examining and interacting with the surfaces of the city through making graffiti art. His awareness of the structures we use every day but often overlook has become the subject of his current work: the buildings, doorways, fenced trees, discarded buses and chipped alley walls that fill our cities and map our lives. Through an intricate process of hand-cut stencils and enamel painting, he explores the relationship between our perceptions of the temporary and the eternal, uncovering the stories we have transcribed on an urban landscape filled with utilitarian objects.
“We live in an ever-changing city sculpture,” says Feibelman, “constantly being shaped, broken down and rebuilt again by countless personal human moments.”
Feibelman’s creation process reveals this movement over multiple lifetimes through steps of collection, destruction and repurposing. After photographing his subject, he creates paper stencils by capturing layers of light and meticulously cutting away the resulting negative space. The stencil cutting process can take months, a time during which he is forced to subtract material with millions of small movements, reflecting and reversing the tiny interactions that have added to the subject’s surface over its lifetime. When the stencils are complete, the structure has been whittled down to its most essential form, and the collection of layered stencils, light and shadow become a kind of skeleton.
To rebuild the body of the subject, Feibelman then uses enamel spray paint to lay down layers of color through the stencils onto wood panels. The resulting image is a portrait of an urban object as we have never seen it before; its biography revealed in surfaces that shimmer with the light of a thousand experiences. Both the stencils and the paintings are essential to the portrait, suggesting the possibility of continued change and rebirth, and challenging us to examine both our contribution to the environment and our perception of time.
Adam Feibelman has lived and worked in the Bay Area for the last 16 years. He attended California College of Arts and Crafts, where he earned the Yozo Hamaguchi award for exceptional achievement in Printmaking. He graduated with distinction in 2001 with a double major in Printmaking and Illustration. He is currently represented by Guerrero Gallery in San Francisco, CA.