JOHN FAHEY paintings, sound collage, comedy, more on now at AVA


Sketch by John Fahey circa 1998 for potential homepage for

The paintings of John Fahey
July 10 – September 12, 2010

Presented by John Andrew and AVA

Legendary guitarist and iconoclast John Fahey is best known for his adventurous catalog of music. From 1959 until the time of his death in 2001 Fahey released upwards of 40 albums exploring the territory of blues, classical, hillbilly, spirituals, folk, musique concrete, rock, and noise. He was a figure like none other, a true visionary. In 1959, long before the term “independent label” hit the mainstream, he self-released his first album by pressing up 100 copies and selling them at the local gas station where he worked (shortly thereafter forming his own independent label Takoma Records). Lesser known is the fact that he was a fantastic writer in addition to being a hyper productive and explosive painter toward the latter portion of his life. This summer, AVA and John Andrew are extremely pleased to present the furiously beautiful paintings of John Fahey.

Pulling inspiration from the ‘French Primitive’, untutored painters, Fahey often referred to his music as ‘American Primitive’. The same alluring, raw, roots, mysterious, power, grit, obscure, industrial, ambient, epic, and tranquilizing aesthetics that one finds in Fahey’s music and his writings are equally present in his paintings. The 90’s proved to be a decade of regeneration for Fahey. Though he struggled with certain health problems, he was brimming with experimentation. Collaborating with noise artists and improvisational performers of the alternative movement, Fahey began to channel a new outlet for experimentation which included his return to painting; a bent he abandoned when he took up the guitar.

Fahey’s works are evocative of action painters and abstract expressionists. He painted on found poster board and discarded spiral notebook paper. His painting studio floated from motel bed to motel bed and eventually ended up on the bed of his rental home in Salem, OR; occasionaly painting with anti-freeze in the garage. He worked with tempera, acrylic, spray paint, and magic marker.

A selection of larger works (22” x 28”) will be on display in the Front Room of AVA in addition to a few select smaller works of varying dimensions. AVA and John Andrew would like to thank Melissa Stephenson for opening up her collection to this show and enabling the works to be available for purchase.

A series of sound collage works, spoken word, explorative / home recordings, and comedy all performed by John Fahey will be transmitted on the outside of AVA (as part of the Exterior Sounds series) during the course of the exhibition.

John Andrew is a New York based artist who has presented two shows at AVA. This show is a fulfillment of a Portland, OR art show he was originally organizing with Fahey in 1998.

Summer hours:
Thursday – Saturday, 12pm – 6pm
and by appointment

34 East 1st Street
New York, NY 10003

Subway: F,V train to 2nd Ave / 6 train to Bleecker

thanks: BKD

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

About Jay Babcock

I am an independent writer and editor based in Tucson, Arizona. In 2023: I publish an email newsletter called LANDLINE = Previously: I co-founded and edited Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curated the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was somehow listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. From 2010 to 2021, I lived in rural wilderness in Joshua Tree, Ca.

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