'Cultivate' by the Fortoul Brothers

‘Cultivation’ by the Fortoul Brothers @ No Free Bread Gallery

May 13, 2019

The Fortoul Brothers, attempting to strike a primordial nerve with their sun-drenched murals in Phoenix, have translated their aims on a more intimate scale with their first Los Angeles show at No Free Bread Gallery revealing their fine artistry.


There is a rustling in contemporary culture between the fabrications of man around the designs of nature, and in this late industrial age in Western Civilization where nature has ostensibly been subjugated, there is a wanton disregard for its pulsating splendor beneath the ornamental blue prints that distance man from his elemental substance which is genuinely the bedrock of all his wishful machinations. The Fortoul Brothers seek to unshackle the bromidic draperies of cement and asphalt, of inorganic media which permeates every waking day of urban and suburban living, by invoking the natural. And the efforts may have been sloppily conducted, with a cajoling and harsh attitude towards rejuvenating a sense of oneness with what I would describe as the “indigenous Logos” – that je ne sais quoi of Indigenous American cultures and their veneration of a sublime and transcendental movement we are all necessary participants in. The forms of the brothers, being minimalist, assuage this treatment.


Theirs is an effort at decluttering with elegance and clarity, enabling a more direct contact with what necessarily lay beneath our every waking day. Every respiratory breath, every cardiopulmonary cycle, every morning dawn and evening twilight is a natural event, one that governs the condition to being human. It’s disappointing that it is forgotten and unappreciated in the urban Western mind. The incessant task at civilized progress which tramples over the more mystical indigenous expressions at purely being, which the Fortoul Brothers no doubt are attentive to reminiscence, are unraveled so harmoniously with their aims at an organic purity. This is seen most conscientiously with the canvas material’s purposeful tatters, to pique in the subject’s mind a return to the days when the only illumination came from the night sky, with stars as something to glorify.


Of course, this cosmology finds its continuum into exploring this sacredness with human and mythological elements. But there is no pagan reach, no prima facie worshipping of nature. The closest appearance of any sense of religious ornament is Cultivate, a pseudo-shrine of which maintains this crispness of forms yet adds a pseudo-halo around its “sacred geometry”. This work no doubt expresses a porous breath of life-giving and of a diluvial life-affirmation. We might imagine this as a hybridized creation myth, with the artistic title speaking to the quintessence of living and the main theme of the show. For with Cultivation, there is implicit the exertion of growth; a maintenance to living; a requisite variable to the calculus of life. This work and the exhibition, then, are ultimately expressions of the unseen order which provides the boundary conditions for the uncontrollable permanence of beauty in the natural world which all of humanity is forever bounded to.


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