Finn presents FARMERS AND REAPERS, his third solo exhibition of new work by gallery artist Nick Doyle


Finn presents Farmers and Reapers, his third solo exhibition of new work by gallery artist Nick Doyle, from June 4 to July 16. With Farmers and Reapers, Doyle deepens his examination of the fate of “one-dimensional” American identity – an identity that rests on the ability to afford capitalist comforts, thus normalizing the sacrifice of passion and replacing it with labor as currency. freedom of consumption.

In Farmers and Reapers, the artist draws on theorems offered by Herbert Marcuse in One Dimensional Man, which examines repressive desublimation – the concept that capitalism flattens the distinction between “what is” and “what isn’t.” not”. By turning art into a commodity and commentary into capital, this self-absorbing mechanism compresses culture, desire and passion into a generic identity that functions to propel conspicuous consumption. As Marcuse notes, “The music of the soul is also the music of the sale.” In this scheme, the distinction between sincere expression and fabricated performance is eclipsed. At the individual level, contemporary life is intimately influenced by corporate desires to relentlessly protect their bottom line. The hope of a reprieve has been weaponized by the transactional nature of our late capitalist society.

A timely example of this horrific tension is encapsulated in the dynamics of the opioid crisis – the very drugs marketed as reliable pain treatments have become a machine that viciously uproots lives across the country. In this landscape, attractive fantasy-images often operate treacherously. “As individuals, we find ourselves subject to the impacts of corporate desires to protect their bottom line,” explains the artist. “Today, as we live in an opioid epidemic, everything has become a drug. Social media, advertising, market research: all born out of attempts to create false desires in a population with no real resolution to these desires, only a constant cycle of momentary changes, satisfaction that intends to keep us locked in a state of perpetual and greedy consumption.

In this presentation, the contradictions of trapped wishes are embodied by a series of fashioned panels bonded with denim saturated with a plurality of metaphors. Monumental poppy flowers punctuate sequences of images that refer to life in motion: a melting popsicle, an overturned cup of coffee and a glittering disco ball. These signals of duration – of nostalgia for the past – are counterpoints to others that carry the potential for more ominous avenues of escape: a spoon, a belt and a lighter, a fork and an electrical outlet. With a step back, the floating beauty of poppies is overshadowed by the products they create. In this sequence, the notion of memento mori – a symbolic trope acting as a reminder of the inevitability of death – creeps through this range of artwork.

Doyle, denim further deepens the narrative with its controversial history of unpaid work, the latent symbolism of Americana, and the artification of the relic that is the rapidly declining middle class. “Material is loaded with so many complications”, continues the artist. “The textile industry relies on slave labor while the symbolism of the material is seen as a point of pride in rugged individualistic American culture. This dissonance is very current. It’s as if everything about capitalism is so damn that any kind of moral standard seems impossible.”

Throughout his practice, Doyle also references road trips and white-collar success—mainstays of American mythology—to challenge the persistence of rugged individualism as the fabric of our national identity. Through a series of mechanical miniatures, theatrical sets and prop-like denim works, the artist highlights the dangers of nostalgia and our evolving relationship to consumerism. Seemingly innocuous, Doyle’s expanded visual vocabulary – vending machine, typewriter, pack of cigarettes – continues to weave a complex story.

“Employing the iconography of classic Americana in one of the country’s most controversial and beloved materials, denim, Doyle undoes the American myth making one seam at a time, depicting such trifles as cigarettes, pills, razors, gas tanks in a way that brings their double meanings to the surface,” says Reyes | Finn Partner, Bridget Finn. “With these powerful icons, he opens up conversations about addiction, destruction, and capitalist greed, and how they oppose the fallacy of the American dream, thus using the fiber of American culture to craft his critique.”


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