Greg Fadell’s work and his persona can be seen as a series of deliberate choices. The work of some artists begins and ends within the frame, but for Fadell, wall, lighting, surfaces, and gallery are just as important as the pieces he brings to hang…and all that before his attention to the forces that shape the art world itself. Every aspect of Fadell’s practice is deeply considered, even those that might read as casual or irreverent vestiges of his early pro-skater career and personal aesthetic. His body of work draws in the viewer with its ostensible simplicity, but ask an informed question and be astonished by the volubility and the substance of his answer.
For example, his 2012 show Nothingness at Simone DeSousa Gallery (then Re:View) presented large-scale paintings in stark black and white that resemble an attempt to vigorously scrub washes of paint in random, vaguely geometric directions. While the content of each canvas would seem to suggest its eponymous “nothing”—see, for example, Nothing (1)—Fadell is drawing upon the philosophy laid out by Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1943 book-length essay on ontology, Being and Nothingness. Fadell rightly identifies the art world as the perfect system within which to exploit ideas of expectation and negation, and effectively does so with these simple forms that he presents repeatedly, having revisited the aesthetics of this body for a 2013 installation on windows at UICA in Grand Rapids, as well as his 2015 contribution to the Lille 3000 cultural expo in France.