Vincent Fecteau premieres entirely new body of work at CCA Wattis Institute

Fecteau’s untitled exhibition of new work signals a shift in exhibition structure at CCA Wattis and will be on view September 5–November 9, 2019.

Vincent Fecteau, Untitled, 2018. Papier-mâché, resin clay, watercolor pencil, acrylic, felt sculpture.

Vincent Fecteau, Untitled, 2018. Papier-mâché, resin clay, watercolor pencil, acrylic, felt sculpture, 22 1/2 × 35 × 14 inches (57.15 × 88.90 × 35.56 cm). Private collection, San Francisco.

CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new work by San Francisco–based artist Vincent Fecteau (b. 1969). With this exhibition, CCA Wattis Institute launches a new approach to its exhibition program: The 3,500-square-foot space, which was previously divided into two galleries and often featured two simultaneous but separate exhibitions, will now become a single space and host single exhibitions. This structural shift reduces the number of exhibitions produced by CCA Wattis every year in order to prioritize and emphasize a greater depth of engagement with each artist and each project, which will benefit from the additional space, attention, and resources—beginning with Fecteau’s untitled exhibition of new work.

For his solo exhibition at CCA Wattis, Fecteau premieres an entirely new body of work, continuing the institution’s commitment to providing established artists a platform to experiment with new ideas and approaches. Over the last 12 months, Fecteau experimented with a new technique, working through the original and sometimes unexpected questions inherent in learning a new process, to create a series of foam and papier-mâché sculptures. This will be his first solo exhibition in the Bay Area since 2002. Since that time, he took part in the 2002 and 2012 Whitney Biennials, was named a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow, and won the prestigious 2016 MacArthur Fellowship Award.

Over the last two decades, Fecteau has created a singular sculptural language with carefully handcrafted objects made with papier-mâché, plaster, or foamcore and often incorporating everyday objects such as rubber bands, paper clips, seashells, or string. These sculptures twist, turn, and fold in on themselves in a knot-like formal structure that the artist builds up slowly, adding and removing layers over time. Overall, his sculptures manage to fuse together oppositional forces and appear calm yet agitated, exposed but secretive, fully formed yet still forming.

Nearly always abstract—although occasionally incorporating found photographs—Fecteau’s work succeeds when it defies description and recognition. His objects are puzzles while still presenting structurally sound shapes that seem organic and even inevitable. Never working from drawings or pre-established intentions, the artist searches for ways to anchor the abstract nature of art into a material form—with intuition, desire, and impulse as his driving forces.

About Vincent Fecteau

Vincent Fecteau’s first exhibition took place in 1994 at Kiki in San Francisco, three years after the artist moved to the Bay Area. Since then, he has had solo exhibitions in prestigious institutions around the world such as Secession in Vienna (2016), Kunsthalle Basel (2015), The Art Institute of Chicago (2008), and Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archives (2002), among others. His work was featured in the 2002 and 2012 Whitney Biennials in New York and the 2013 Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, among other major group exhibitions. In 2009, he curated an exhibition of works from SFMOMA’s collection. The MacArthur Foundation named Fecteau a 2016 MacArthur Fellow. Born in Islip, New York, he currently lives and works in San Francisco.

About CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts

Founded in 1998 at California College of the Arts in San Francisco and located a few blocks from its campus, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts is a nonprofit exhibition venue and research institute dedicated to contemporary art and ideas. As an exhibition space, it commissions and shows new work by emerging and established artists from around the world. Recent solo exhibitions include Diamond Stingily: Doing the Best I Can; Rosha Yaghmai: Miraclegrow; Adam Linder: Full Service (which traveled to Mudam Luxembourg); Ken Lum: What’s Old is Old for a Dog; Henrik Olesen: The Walk; Melanie Gilligan: Partswholes; Howard Fried: Derelicts; Laura Owens: Ten Paintings; Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys: Tram 3 (which traveled to MoMA PS1); Josephine Pryde: Lapses in Thinking by the Person I Am (which traveled to ICA Philadelphia and earned Pryde a 2016 Turner Prize nomination); K.r.m. Mooney: En, set; Sam Lewitt: More Heat Than Light (which traveled to Kunsthalle Basel and the Swiss Institute, New York); and Ellen Cantor: Cinderella Syndrome (which traveled to Künstlerhaus Stuttgart). A recent group exhibition, Mechanisms, traveled to Secession in Vienna in an expanded form entitled Other Mechanisms.

As a research institute, the Wattis dedicates an entire year to reflect on the work of a single artist, which informs a regular series of public programs and publications involving the field’s most prominent artists and thinkers. The 2019–2020 season is dedicated to the filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha; past seasons featured Joan Jonas, Andrea Fraser, David Hammons, Seth Price, and Dodie Bellamy.

The Wattis also hosts an annual Capp Street Artist-in-Residence, one of the earliest and longest-running artist-in-residence programs in the country, founded in 1983 by Ann Hatch as Capp Street Project, and incorporated into the Wattis Institute in 1998. Each year, an artist comes to live and work in San Francisco for a semester, teaches a graduate seminar at CCA, and presents an exhibition. Recent participants include Abbas Akhavan (2018–2019), contemptorary (2017–2018), Melanie Gilligan (2016–2017), Carissa Rodriguez (2015–2016), Nairy Baghramian (2014–2015), Claire Fontaine (2013–2014), Ryan Gander (2012–2013), Harrell Fletcher and Kris Martin (2011–2012), Paulina Olowska and Renata Lucas (2010–2011), and Abraham Cruzvillegas (2009–2010).

For more information, visit: wattis.org.