Meet Me Halfway

18 Mar - 3 Jun 2017

Magda Danysz gallery is pleased to introduce the brooklyn-based duo Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller a.k.a FAILE for the first time in its parisian exhibition space. Renowned for their work across the U.S.A. , United-Kingdom and Japan, FAILE is being offered the gallery space as a new playground to express their style.


The name FAILE is an anagram of their first project « A Life », created in 1999. Since then, the duo is known for its plural style and the variety of media used in their recognizable fragmented esthetic and their use of collage. Using wooden boxes, pallets, totems, paintings or sculptures, FAILE adapts its visual signature on all kinds of media. Everywhere they mix collage, paint, vintage images, pop culture and comics in a unique and distinctive style.


Through an exhibition mixing paper works, pieces on wood or on canvas, the duo promises to surprise us from March 18 to April 29, 2017. Prolific, the duo is working on a large range of media, excelling from installations, painting, collage, stencil to wood and marble sculptures, always in a constant search of novelty.

Behind a colorful and saturated iconography, instantly recognizable, borrowing the codes of the mass media, comics and pop culture, FAILE puts into its works squealing subjects such as consumption or the weight of religion in media. Masters in the diversion of codes, FAILE excels in multidisciplinarity.


FAILE's Process

Although FAILE's completed works are iconographically and stylistically distinctive, their process of creation owes much to chance, improvisation, and openness to outside source material. This is true of both FAILE's relationship to form and content?the visual elements of their work is continuously adapted to heterogeneous materials, from grocery store sign paper to wooden boxes and painted ceramics. During the early years of their career, FAILE's primary laboratories were urban streets. On the one hand, their practice, at its most basic, consisted of painting with stencils on the built environment. On the other, from the outset FAILE developed work in the studio that drew from a wide array of international cultural influences, both sacred and profane, that were then wheatpasted in the outside world. These latter works demanded reproducibility and rapid availability for circulation, and were thus well suited to the printmaking process. After experimenting with more graphically centered black and white images, and the intensive process of layer-by-layer color transfer, FAILE introduced an element of immediacy to these prints by painting the paper prior to printing, yielding prints that were loose and chromatically expressive.

Each of these tendencies were amplified by FAILE's consistent travel and limited permanent studio space. By necessity, work was adapted to its location of display, by virtue of its inherent "site specificity," as well as the group's absorption of forms, imagery, and usable materials wherever they happened to be. Once those materials were exhausted, stencils could be used to provide a constant template in lieu of prints. This early phase was one of dynamism and experimentation, and much of FAILE's early work was left to deteriorate and interact with its environment. By 2005, when FAILE established a larger studio space, this ad hoc approach was supplemented with a more traditional approach to painting and print editions that drew on these earlier priorities (inter-cultural permutation, use of found images and signifiers, and an expressive, playful approach to execution), while taking the entropy and dynamism of the street as an object of investigation.

Although street art is a consistent aspect of FAILE's practice (in concrete terms and as a source of inspiration), the post-2005 period has permitted them to work more slowly, generating thematically driven suites (War Profitees; Lost in Glimmering Shadows), small print runs, and increasingly three-dimensional media, from arcade cabinets, salvaged wood, and large-scale casting. Each of FAILE's projects is unified, however, by a consistent openness to chance, external cultural influences, audience interactivity, and the organic rhythms of the street.

More recently, found wood and apple boxes figured into FAILE's development in their studio practice of hybrid forms of painting that blur the boundaries between religious, folk, artisanal, and sculptural forms. The histories of abstraction and quilting, as well as the modular form of the puzzle box, for example, were foundational for the suites of paintings in 2010's Bedtime Stories and 2011's Fragments of FAILE. At the same time, architectural forms and Iberian ornamental tradition were essential in constructing 2010's Temple project, a ruin featuring prayer wheels and cast relief work in Lisbon. Both elements?projects in wood, and building environments?were fused in producing an "obelisk" of printed/painted boxes in the atrium of the Koch Auditorium in New York's Lincoln Center in 2013.
FAILE has also consistently produced artist's books (typically in partnership with German publisher Gestalten Verlag) including FAILE: Prints + Originals, 1999-2009 (2010), FAILE Temple (2012), and FAILE: Works on Wood: Process, Paintings, and Sculpture (2014).