Testosterone can wreak havoc on the road, but Michael Chandler’s driven art provides a stimulating dose of filmic action/adventure painting appropriate to an alumnus of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. You won’t get white line fever at this up-tempo exhibit.
Painterly Ab Ex stud though he may be, Chandler somehow manages to avoid the pitfalls of Pollack tribute band clichés, and moves into a rarified realm of sweeping grandeur. These paintings draw you into a dimly lit region of mysterious origins; employing the classic “gaze” rewards the viewer with an eerily cinematic sensation of chiaroscuro. Who knows what creatures might emerge from this painter’s dark lagoon of a psyche?
Although the paintings don’t make your typical abstract landscapes references, naturalism emanates from their indistinct core. These are not fussy compositions; they are thrown together with flair for splatter, but despite the pumped-up, gestural muscularity end up as nuanced compilations of radiant vibrations. The dichotomy of gung-ho enthusiasm coupled with sensitive brushwork, bring the picture plane a fullness and maturity pleasing to the eye.
Chandler is one of those deserving artists who should have garnered more attention. Although he did gain some notoriety in the 80’s and 90’s, how work this ambitious and grand has not been more widely recognized is beyond me.
His bio is not to be missed:
Born in Denver, Colorado, Michael Chandler was a student of Stan Brakhage at the University of Colorado in Boulder during the late 60’s and attended Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa. He began showing his paintings in 1985 at the galleries of Salvatore Ala in New York and Milan. Chandler has been a gardener in the Hollywood Hills, done mining assessment for the Anaconda Company, worked on Christo's Rifle Valley Curtain project, painted baseball dolls for the Pittsburg Pirates and Cincinnati Reds, was a surveyor for Contact Logging in Philipsburg, Montana, painted walls at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, worked on the production of Walter Hill’s movie The Warriors, painted cartoon cells for Animalympics, did installations at the Mudd Club and Club 57 with Mary-Ann Monforton and worked as an assistant to Dan Flavin through the Dia Art Foundation. Among others, he has exhibited in Munich with Galeria Paal; in Seoul at Gallerie Seomi; in Bologna at Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna; in Rio de Janeiro at the Museum of Modern Art; at the Rhode Island School of Design’s Museum of Art and in New York City at P.S.1, the Drawing Center and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Most recently his work could be seen at Jules de Balincourt’s Bushwick Basel. Chandler has worked out of his Lower East Side studio since 1980 and this is his first one person show in New York in 15 years.
|Installation view at Valentine Gallery|