‘Love Playground’, 2017
Fahren Feingold, a contemporary American artist, is a modern-day visionary of the female form. It was as a young student of Parsons College where her propensity of painting nudes was fed, and Feingold ‘always hoped to make her way back to the subject.’ However, a career as a designer at influential houses such as Ralph Lauren beckoned first. She still adores clothes, but Feingold firmly states: ‘I do not like the business and many of the people who run the companies. I found the business of fashion to be creatively stifling.’
Her relationship to the body is all positive. She sought to move away from the aim of ‘seeing women as consumers’ choosing the ‘calm invitation’ of her works instead, subtly reminding us: ‘nude art has been around for centuries, there’s a lot of people still very uncomfortable with the topic.’ Admirable, but why watercolor? For Feingold, the form used ‘usually for flowers and beach scenes lent themselves naturally to airy, atmospheric interpretations. Using this information, I decided to take the medium and apply it to a subject matter which most people consider taboo.’
‘Sweet Morphine’, 2016
‘Wasted Whispers’, 2017
And so she does: her second solo show ‘Le Peep Show’ is in a temporary pop-up space of the same name opposite Fleur du Mal’s flagship store, in collaboration with the brand giant and The United Space Gallery. Creative director of Fleur du Mal and curator of this exhibition Jennifer Zuccarini felt Feingold’s art was the perfect cousin for her brand, and in this pop-up experience of art and product, they have set out to seduce with cocktails, elegant finery, and lingerie. This collaboration appealed to Feingold’s sensibilities as well as her art: ‘Le Peep Show’ was perfect: ‘a throwback to 1970s peep shows and sex shops. Inspired by dark alleyways where voyeurs could watch pictures and people through a small looking hole.’ Indeed, the subjects are showgirl types, often adorned with oversized bows, plumes of cigarette smoke, and not much else.
And that is Feingold’s main point: despite the ethereal quality, they are intentional – their eyes are not closed in a kind of vague, Rembrandt-style ecstasy- her muses are context-free, and very much in charge of their nakedness. For Feingold, this is in a whisper, ‘not a shout to get someone’s attention.’ On possible feminist messages, she explains, ‘I personally deal with censorship and patriarchal restraints daily. When I start a painting, it is not with the intention to invoke political defiance, rather to assert beliefs.’ This return, then, to her favored subject cannot come at a moment too soon. On legacy, Feingold states that a mix of timelessness and ‘capturing the climate of today’s female culture’ be her calling card- and with ‘ Le Peep Show’ Feingold certainly achieves it.
Fahren Feingold’s solo show of works ‘Le Peep Show’ will be exhibited in collaboration with Fleur du Mal at 175 Mott Street, Lower East Manhattan, June 2nd – July 8th, 2018.
“Giving It Away”
Words by Jessica Bailey