CHRISTOPHER CHINN’s solo exhibition “On the Row” presents a body of work inspired by the artist’s encounters with the
homeless population in downtown Los Angeles, where Chinn moved after
completing his MFA studies at the USC Roski School of Fine Arts.
skillfully executed portraits bring to attention a social issue that is
to this day far from resolved. Chinn himself was surprised by the
initial difficulty he experienced with simply being able to look at
homelessness every day. His natural reaction was to begin expressing
his experiences in his paintings. He set aside his beautifully painted
portraits of family and friends and focused his attention to the men
and women who lived on the streets around his studio. Chinn’s life as
an artist suddenly involved sitting on the sidewalks of downtown Los
Angeles with his new neighbors, trying to understand homelessness and
its many causes and faces. The resulting paintings are a powerful
testament to the human connections made and stories told.
Chinn’s paintings in the exhibition “On the Row” bring
the issue of homelessness to a place where it is rarely experienced: a
white, clean gallery space on the West Side of Los Angeles. With this
exhibition, Chinn’s compelling portraits further the connections
between us all, depicting, with palpable dignity, the real faces of
homelessness, and bringing to our attention that it is not just the
issue of the streets in urban dwellings, but one that we must all pay
attention to and work together to solve.