When Fabian began working on his recent solo show, Contraption
, he had no idea where his creative machinations might take him. Among the city's more inventive visual artists, he's perhaps best known as the guy who boldly proposed, then hand-constructed, a pyramid in honor of the Dungeon Family
for Art on the Atlanta Beltline. Besides the dope aesthetics, the design wound up serving a practical, if unintended, purpose when the homeless made a shelter out of it
last year. That, in itself, became a poetic statement considering Dungeon Family's righteous legacy and the coincidental timing of Goodie Mob's Soul Food
debut turning 20 in 2015.
A similar bit of serendipity spawned the outcome of Contraption
, a conceptual show that plays with perception while exploring reality in all its contradictions — from the cartoonish to the cosmic.
“The whole show is a mechanism and this is my thought process,” Fabian said during the show's closing reception on Saturday, May 28 at Notch 8 Gallery, while giving an in-depth artist talk hosted by @ATLArtGirls
. The oldest pieces in the show, created over the past two years, draw inspiration from Rube Goldberg, the Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist best known for his illustrations of complicated gadgetry. (Remember those absurd contraptions Wile E. Coyote used to create in his slapstick attempts to catch the Road Runner back in the day? Yeah, we have Goldberg to thank for that.)
Fabian satirizes a more serious subject: criminal justice, or the lack thereof. In such provocatively titled pieces as the "Anti-Pig Machine" and "Cop Vision: WWB Edition," he creates contraptions that illustrate how social programming fuels the racially-charged rash of police brutalizing and killing black Americans. He counters those realistic depictions of inherent bias toward African-Americans with animated portrayals of friendly interactions between cops and white suspects. It's a subtle nod to a not-so-subtle irony.
“I’ve tried to think about conspiracies like they were mechanized," he said, explaining the dehumanizing effects of media bias. "Conspiracies up close just look like moving parts. But as you step back, you realize that they’re all connected. And they’re all connected to produce a similar result.”