September 7, 2012

Baroque Suprematist

A few notes from a recent studio visit with Kris Chatterson:

Many of you might know of Kris' paintings. He's also a co-author of KCLOG, together with Vince Contarino, Carrie Chatterson, Amelia Ishmael, Julie Chae and others. We talked one rainy day in his studio about that Kasimir Malevich influenced tattoo on his arm, the influence of printmaking in his painting process and his appreciation of Rubens made apparent in the movement and energy in his abstract compositions. It was a fast studio visit, we didn't have a chance to get into the weeds with Kasimir. I have yet to ask him what he thought of Malevich's representational work, how he blended it with his abstractions to the point that he scrambled the dates of his paintings, that perhaps his "Art for art's sake" suprematism has ironic folds to it, and what does this mean for abstraction today? In terms of process, I found it interesting that he doesn't paint several canvases at once, developing compositions like the emergence of an image in photo emulsion. He keeps the work to the materiality of paint when it could easily disappear into the logic and feel of a computer screen. The delivery of print-like gestural images happens with copiers and transfers with acrylic mat medium and a watery rub off of the paper backing, resulting in a mulch of paper that he dries and collects in buckets, his intuition piqued but only just so as of this moment. He works on one painting at a time, a practice that I can relate to, but time doesn't constrain him as it does for me, we have chosen differently in this respect. He spins his paintings as he paints them, but only selectively. He paints in layers and all at once to the entire surface, reminding me of the layers function in Photoshop. And Rubens. He loves him some Rubens. I can see it in the movement, detail and energy. The eye tracking is the key to the composition. As we talked, I thought of Chris Burden, whose ultimate subject is power, and like Rubens, all of the apparent motifs seem to my eye dispensable to the underlying, elusive and enduring subject, abstract and general as it is. For Burden it is sheer power, for Chatterson, it is the power of movement.

Posted by Dennis at September 7, 2012 8:22 AM

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