Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Around Town - The Chuck Connelly Exhibit at the Warhol

Slag 2013 Courtesy the artist

The Andy Warhol Museum is currently presenting an exhibit titled "Chuck Connelly: My America" as
its contribution to the 2014 Pittsburgh Biennial. The exhibit runs through January 4, 2015 The exhibit features 21 of Connelly's works created from 1979 through 2013.

Born in Pittsburgh in 1955, Connelly graduated from the Tyler School of Art,
Philadelphia, in 1977 and, by the mid-1980s, was recognized as a key figure among
the New York-based Neo-expressionist painters. Known for using thickly layered
brush strokes and bold palettes, his subjects have varied widely from religious
imagery to cosmic visions, portraits, landscapes, and Victorian homes from the
Philadelphia neighborhood where he now lives.

Homo 1979 Courtesy the Artist

"During Connelly’s rise to prominence in New York the hip hop, post-punk, and street art movements had coalesced and artists such as Jean- Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring were incorporating their graffiti fonts and character onto neo-expressionist paintings,"  said Jessica Beck, the Warhol’s assistant
curator of art, who arranged the exhibition along with Nicholas Chambers. "In 'Homo,' one can see Connelly’s multilayered approach as he renders an Old-Master subject in contemporary style. The face of Santa is modeled after a Peter Paul Rubens portrait and the text applied in silver spray paint drips to the edge of the frame like a graffiti tag. Like Warhol’s comic strip paintings, Connelly employs a sexual slur with a children’s fictional character. However, the text appears impulsive and alters, almost defaces, his canvas of laborious detail."

"Connelly is a prodigious painter, working for nearly 40 years, which is why this first solo
museum show feels long overdue. 'My America' represents his personal story through the decades, shown in a progression of works that interweave grand art historical themes with contemporary social

Critics have compared Connelly's art to Soutine and Van Gogh, but his urban
landscapes also conjure the grittiness of the American realist George Bellows.
Connelly infuses an element of the surreal, seeming to portray untold narratives and
an otherworldly dimension.

"Chuck Connelly’s lush, heavily layered canvases remind us of the resilience and
force of painting. His surreal, uniquely tragicomic vision of the world is both
familiar and yet completely new and foreign," said Beck.

Ascending Man 1986 Courtesy the artist

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