"On the Row"
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.
Chinn’s 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.