Charlie James Gallery is delighted to present a solo show by L.A. artist Alex Schaefer in our new space at 969 Chung King Road titled Irrational Exuberance.
Investigating issues of excess, criminality, and history, Alex Schaefer’s paintings work together as expressive and documentary evidence of the current financial crisis, its sources and place in history. Very recently, Schaefer gained notoriety for his plein air paintings of various Los Angeles Chase Bank locations, which he painted being consumed by fires. As performative works, the banks aflame series was successful in drawing the ire and concern of actual Chase bankers, who had Schaefer rousted by police both during the act of painting and later at his home. Like most aburdist overreactions, Schaefer’s treatment as a criminal suspect also resulted in a considerable spike of press attention, and an auction sale of the first burning bank painting for over $20,000 dollars. For Irrational Exuberance, Schaefer expands on the burning banks, constructing scenes of contemporary and historical excess that link directly to some of America’s leading corporate interests. Schaefer’s source material draws from a wide range of inputs, from the aforementioned “landscapes” of the bank buildings themselves, to historical photographic imagery, art historical scenes, and found photographic content lifted from public photo sharing sites.
Expanding the dialogue, in the rear mini-gallery we will present work from Schaefer’s landscape series dedicated to suburban housing spaces. These quiet, modestly sized paintings of sundry tract houses howl with emptiness and not a small amount of sadness in light of today’s economic climate. And in the basement Schaefer’s “Fuck the 80s” work will preside, for Schaefer the decade that lead inexorably to our crash almost 30 years later.
Alex Schaefer (b.1969 Los Angeles) took his BFA from the Art Center College of Design in 1992. He worked 9 years as an artist in the video game industry for Disney and Insomniac Games doing 2-D texture mapping, lighting and 3-D modeling. 11 years ago Schaefer dedicated himself full time to painting, and now teaches at the Art Center College of Design. Schaefer’s work has been covered in the LA Times, ArtINFO, The New York Observer, the Huffington Post, and Artillery Magazine. The artist lives and works in Los Angeles.