An exhibition of new sculpture by Colin Chase entitled contronym in which he uses wood and other reclaimed materials to fashion hybrid structures that are spellbinding and offbeat will open at the June Kelly Gallery on October 5. The works will remain on view through November 6.
"Linguistic paradox is my muse and point of departure for this new body of sculpture," says Chase. "I use contronyms, words with two opposite meanings, to suggest the ambiguities of our lives." As in Chase's sculpture entitled Filter, which can mean to block or to let through, opposites are highlighted old and new, seasoned and raw, cadenced and off beat.
"I use repurposed materials to create work that reverberates," the artist says. "I find building and construction materials such as weathered beams and joists and reclaimed plywood that bring with them some history of their usefulness, and I selectively manipulate their surface patinas and textures to suggest a new reading."
In Cleave #3, Chase saws pieces of tree trunks in half and juxtaposes them against a tondo of distressed plywood is what he describes as "homage to nature and cycles that echo the source, even when the object has been transformed." Chase says his overall objective is to create a whimsical body of work in which the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.
Regarding contronyms, he comments: "The title of each work in the show is derived from a contronym. I utilize juxtaposition, layering forms to suggest varied possibilities of meaning. I continue to explore world mythology, semiotics, coded language systems, and information technology such as barcodes in the creation of my work
"My aim is to configure a map for any adventurous explorer to navigate."
Chase lives and works in New York City and in Saugerties, in Upstate New York, and teaches art at the City University of New York. He received a BFA from Cooper Union and an MFA from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Chase has been represented in many one-person and group exhibitions throughout the United States, as well as in Europe and Brazil. His work is included in numerous private and public collections, among them The Studio Museum in Harlem, The New School of Social Research, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Prudential Life Insurance Company and AT&T. His public commissions include the Queens Hospital Center and the Malcolm X Memorial in Manhattan.