My styles have changed a lot over my years of image-making. However all of my work continues to be part of an ongoing inquiry into our human experience. I believe art - of all disciplines - serves to filter the collective experience of life. The visual artist, musician, writer, actor, etc. becomes the distiller, interpreting and processing the world.
As I try and make peace with the current world we’re living in, these paintings represent both reactive and mindful states of being. Although they’re a visual diary of the internal monologue I experience as I paint (it feels deeply personal), I believe our existence as human beings is inextricably linked, and hence, the realm of our experience universal. My work originates from my own experience - is run through my own filters - but it’s my desire that it speaks to the experience of others.
ABOUT CHRIS' ART IN 'A BRAVE NEW WORLD'
It’s always an interesting exercise to reflect on your life and your art when updating your bio/artist statement; trying to sum it all up in a succinct and tidy few paragraphs. The past few years, culminating in 2020, were game changers on so many levels. The work I’m presenting here is, in part, a summation of my process of surviving it all.
My foundational roots were post-atomic, Southern Gothic, wrapped up neatly in Cleaver Family style suburbia. South Carolina in the 1960s. Life was predictable and “normal” until I started to figure out it was all illusion and perspective. In many ways my image-making has been an attempt to reconcile what is with what we’d maybe like it to be. Studio time has served to keep me functioning in the day-to-day. It gives me my equilibrium.
I find painting to be an adventure. Consequently, it seems I’m always reinventing my work. For better or worse, it feels like I’m always in search of the “next hill to climb”. I sometimes get a vision of a finished piece before I start, but more often I follow the paint and see where it takes me. Often, it’s a slow climb, as I love what happens when you layer and build history in a piece.
The Year of Living Dangerously, was pure 2020. I added to it throughout the year as events unfolded, like journaling on a graffiti wall.
Mortal Coil, began in 2019 as I processed turning 60. It took on a bigger-picture narrative with the virus and the many vulnerabilities facing all life on the planet. The mortal coil coming undone.
Prayer Totem, started horizontally as part of a diptych. Somewhere along the way it liberated and reoriented itself into an impossibly balanced tower.
Black and White, is about just that.
Valentine, was two paintings that became one. It’s part of an ongoing series of botanical studies with lots of subplots.
I feel honored to be included in this exhibit with so many of my art heroes. A Brave New World, indeed. It’s going to require courage and fortitude to navigate where we’re headed, I’m afraid. And lots of love.