Geoffrey Chadsey

New Work on Paper
October 5th – Novemeber 11th, 2006

James Harris Gallery is pleased to present four new large-scale drawings by New York based artist Geoffrey Chadsey. In his two previous exhibitions at the gallery, the artist used only watercolor pencil to construct his drawing. Now he combines the drawn line with vivid washes of watercolor applied with brushes. This invigorated visual language drives the narrative impulse.

Perfectly balanced between what is familiar and alien, beautiful and ugly, classical and contemporary, Chadsey’s images are, as always, enigmatic, often revealing vulnerability underneath the standardized view of the male ego.

In Office Chair, a man sits exposed. His red-hair complimented perfectly against an epic ocean-blue background, while the fleshy pencil lines that make up his relatively unsightly body are seductive. The drawing is overwhelmingly beautiful and its beauty contrasts the vulgarity of the corpulent body. In Jam¸ Chadsey’s mark-making is fascinating, rendering similarly difficult imagery mesmerizing. Two preppy college-aged boys sit playing guitars in their dorm room: they are candidly “jamming.” Next to one of them on the bunk-bed, an all-but-naked man lays unaffected. His face is vacant, his pose bored.

Since these poignant compositions are constructed from photographs that the artist finds online, Chadsey’s work directly comments on the way intimate details of our lives are now often quite public. In addition, by using a range of personal events – including moments of solitude (like in Office Chair) and celebration (like in Jam) – and then pumping up the sexual tensions that is intrinsic in the images he also highlights both the repellent and attractive sides of the contemporary male psyche.

As Chadsey states: “So, all in all, a collision of gay and straight, family and friends, young and not so young, black and white, male and female… a netherworld (etherworld? ethernet? internet?) of supposedly exclusive groups co-mingling to produce something either creepy or democratic. Either I am gaying up straight images, or I am straightening gay ones.”

Chadsey received his MFA in photography and drawing from the California College of the Arts in Oakland. The Contemporary Museum Honolulu will feature a survey of Chadsey’s work in December titled Boys in the Band: Geoffrey Chadsey Drawings 1998-2006. That show will be on view from December 8, 2006 through March 18, 2007 and will be accompanied by a full-color catalogue.

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