Cheyney Thompson "Chronochromes, Data, Motifs"

Rat Hole Gallery

poster for Cheyney Thompson "Chronochromes, Data, Motifs"

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Rat Hole Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by Cheyney Thompson entitled Chronochromes, Data, Motifs. The exhibition, on view from March 11 until May 15, 2011, is Thompson's first solo exhibition in Japan.

Cheyney Thompson was born in 1975 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and currently lives and works in New York City. Exploring the history, practice, and circulation of painting as his subject, Thompson often systematically deconstructs how a work is created, unpacking it into its colors, its establishment of perspective, its subject matter, and its post-studio life within a socio-economic context. For this exhibition, Thompson will present an exhibition comprised of four components: Paintings, Pedestals, Laser-cut Gouaches, and Drawings.

Thompson’s abstract oil paintings on canvas are made in such a way that they track their own time of production using the Munsell color model. In Munsell’s system, color is named according to three descriptive categories (hue, saturation, and value), which result in a complete, and asymmetrical color space. In these paintings, the color system is grafted onto a calendar. The month, hour, and day of the time of production are indicated by colors on the painting. Each day has a complementary hue pair, each hour changes the colors’ value, and each month the saturation changes. Noon is absolute white and midnight is absolute black. This motifs of the paintings are derived from an enlarged digital scan of the linen canvas texture on which they were painted, and the complementary color pairs which make up the resulting delicate, grain-like pattern are executed by hand using minutely-controlled brushstrokes.This creates a very repetitive process, which produces subtle variations in the appearance of the works. Also, it provides a system of producing paintings which, in theory has the potential to produce a smooth gradient that represents a continuous flow in time, and also registers the artist’s fatigue, distractions, interruptions, and the inability to work at all times. Thompson states, “Painting is here equated with a kind of wage labor, where time itself, the time of life, has become a discrete set of countable units and plotted within the support-- painting. But of course pictures always say more than they intend, so that even if the paintings are the result of a highly instrumentalized reasoning, they seem to picture a kind of desire which is rooted in the laboring body.” Each of the five paintings in the exhibition, which the artist refers to as chronochromes, shares the same height, with every width numerically unique.

Thompson’s pedestals are related to the paintings in sharing a systematic approach and the artist's fascination with different forms of display. All of the five pedestals in the exhibition are unique forms but have the same surface area. The material on display covers an increasingly wide area of research that is related to what Thompson sees as a central concern of his work- the relation of measurement to the body, or number and effect, or the problem of quantity and quality. Objects on display include artifacts, academic texts, press material, facsimile books, and collections of data, amongst other things that lie behind Thompson’s motifs in his works. “These pedestals are presenting information which as information can only have a tertiary relationship to the presentation of painting. But with the pedestals, the information can find its own mode of address by being bound to the singular instance of that which presents (the non-repeating formal iteration of the pedestals).”

The laser-cut works and drawings are also derived from motifs that emerge from Thompson's research and data collection. An aspect of the research that is reducible to a graphic sign or logo is what generates the laser-cut paintings, which are gouache and watercolor works on paper intricately mounted on laser-cut aluminum. To date, Thompson has created works from the following motifs: Robert Macaire, the letter R, the letter M, a fan blade, a image of ritual genital mutilation (sub-incision), a grid, an ink splotch, a lamp, the Munsell color solid, and a flower drawn by Pierre Bezier. The ink drawings in the exhibition are from a collection of the artist’s attempts to learn a calligraphy style popular in France in the 19th century.

Together, these four components attempt to articulate the internal “information” that lies in his paintings with external “influences” that characterize the paintings’ references and histories of circulation and display, subtly provoking viewers with the question of “What belongs to the category of painting?”

[Image: Cheyney Thompson, "Chronochrome set 1" (2010) Oil on canvas 190.5 x 226.5cm]



From 2011-03-11 To 2011-06-12


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