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Flowers Gallery – “Into a Carpet made of Water” by Aida Tomescu
November 20, 2021 - January 15, 2022
Flowers Gallery is delighted to announce an exhibition by contemporary American painter Aleah Chapin, her first solo exhibition in Asia. Aleah Chapin is renowned for her unflinching nude portraits of older women, relatives, and friends. Described by painter Eric Fischl as “the best and most disturbing painter of flesh alive today,” Chapin’s bold and intimate portrayals of the human figure have broadened the debate around the visibility of aging in representations of the body.
Over the past year, Chapin has taken an increasingly intuitive approach to painting, resulting in a radical shift of painterly style and process. The new works in this exhibition take their starting point from spontaneous sketches, often made using her non-dominant hand, which are guided by a personal instinctive awareness of self, time, and place. In her paintings, Chapin’s automatic drawings are combined with images of her own body and reconfigured into hybrid forms poised at the edge of abstraction.
Fluctuating between imposing rational structures and allowing the paintings to follow their own course, Chapin’s new works remain fluid throughout their making, and open to chance. As the title of the exhibition Walking Backwards suggests, each painting treads a pathway into the unknown, shedding the familiar and building a sense of identity that develops, as Chapin describes, “from the inside out”. The titles of the paintings underpin their association with experiences both seen and unseen, such as The Opening, a painting with a radiating core; or The Prodding, which alludes to the connection between body and mind.
During this recent period, Chapin spent time in the expansive landscape of New Mexico, USA, an area that has attracted artists throughout history due to its wide open spaces and limitless skies. In Chapin’s paintings, earth and sky are split distinctly into two planes via a sharp horizon line, providing opposing archetypal symbols for solidity and intangibility. The ground is often fertile with lush vegetation, a reference to the landscape of her home on America’s Pacific Northwest coast, while richly graduated skies reveal abstracted elements of light and shape, denoting an awareness of energy and the natural forces of life.
About Aleah Chapin
Born in 1986, Aleah Chapin grew up on an island north of Seattle, WA, (USA). She received her BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in 2009 and her MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2012. Chapin attended a residency at the Leipzig International Art Programme in Germany and has exhibited her work in the US, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. Recent exhibitions have included Aging Pride, Belvedere Museum, Vienna, Austria; and The Ingram Collection: Bodies, Woking, UK. She has been a recipient of the Willard L. Metcalf Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Posey Foundation Scholarship, Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, and a Postgraduate Fellowship from the New York Academy of Art; Chapin won the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2012. She lives and works in Seattle.