~CHRIS WATTS . . . CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA / & . . . a few pix from his Brooklyn studio
CHRIS WATTS . .. has a solo show in Charlotte, NC at GALLERY TWENTY-TWO – opening tomorrow night.
CHRIS WATTS: ‘Blahk on Blahk on Blak’
OPENING RECEPTION: SAT MARCH 11, 2017
the show runs thru APRIL 8, 2017
GALLERY TWENTY-TWO. CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
here are a couple of early install shots:
ALL INSTALL IMAGES: COURTESY of the artist
I finally got to visit Chris Watts . . .
in his Greenpoint painting studio – a few weeks ago, just as the work was getting ready for this show.
this is a shot of the painting’s top center, an empty space. at rest for . . this moment.
transparency is – like . . . a full-on color for Chris.
so is . . .
violence. the red is for spilt blood, he told me.
esp that of a black man dying before your eyes, real time – on the car seat, shot by a cop.
photographed by a dear one.
streaming live on Facebook.
blahk on blahk: stands for . . hard times.
well, this is not Turner’s landscape.
it is more internal.
it is introspection, thought. given voice thru brushwork.
it is the Zen / about targeted race violence, the social storms that still blow cold & harsh.
a harsh colonial legacy – that’s hard to untwist / a fragile social fabric twisting us all this way and that.
in ways that aren’t always so obvious, but that still call out – if you listen.
Chris was working on a smaller piece for the show, while he was talking to me.
I would say his work is equal parts driven by thought and rage, history and sadness, identity / as it is as much by painterly concerns: surface, or lack of / colored primary pigment – or lack of.
sheer texture vs. conventional opaque background.
gestural expression vs. a graphic or pictorial narrative. it’s not that it’s even fictional, as much as an emotional space. stormy.
tension, shimmery, metallic, dull, matte, shiny. flat, velvet, silk, brushstroke, fade, shades of ‘chrome’.
shades of darkness. shades of ancestors, shades of ghosts.
the different background fabrics / the fragile social fabric of our ‘background’.
the metaphors are there, they don’t have to be, but there they are.
flimsy. like the same communal social fabric, we all trample on – usually without much thought.
as if it were: banal.
copper fabric, is so strange, isn’t it ? – seen out of its usual fashion / context.
Blhak on Blahk, is so strange – how I hear it out of context / in Amy Winehouse’s plaintive cry.
so strange how the black man’s ‘blues’ traveled . . to come right back at us: full-throated, thru a slip of a Brit gypsy girl.
such is the fragility, and many layered-ness . . of 21st C. life.
that I can see Chinese landscape painting, and hear Amy Winehouse – in a young painter giving voice to his troubled concerns, and opaque heritage.
that I can see chrome, in what is surely: matte.
and, end of the line, dark, brooding ‘metallic’ . . emotion.
the one small throw-back to his earlier, more narrative graphite drawings, is this faint transfer image of a person, a woman – on an unfinished layer of super fragile, gauze.
is it 1940s ancestor ghostly ‘reality’ ?
it reads like a haunting, and . . sad history.
CHRIS WATTS was born in North Carolina . . .
but grew up bi-coastal / via San Diego, California.
he says he’s a ‘Southerner’ at heart – it’s those deeply embedded roots / that seem to have simmered throughout his life, rather than any sunny Cali waves.
Now Brooklyn-based, with his painting studio just off Lorimer, deep towards Meeker, he is also currently an artist-in-residence at the LMCC / Lower Manhattan Cultural Councils Workspace Program, in downtown Manhattan, where he does his video projects.
view more of his work: links on left hand-side / I AM CHRIS WATTS – PORTFOLIO & LMCC WEBSITE
CHRIS WATTS – STUDIO PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH. SAT JAN 21, 2017