Thatcher Projects is pleased to present Bacanales, an exhibition of new works by New York artist Omar Chacon. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.
Exuberantly vivid, colorful and wild, Omar Chacon’s abstract paintings—layers upon layers of bright peacock-feather ovals, dots and drips streaming across the canvas—draw inspiration from the vibrant life of his native Colombia, a place where cultures, classes and ideals from around the world blend to create a rich diversity. Embracing this “Mestizo mix,” Chacon views his paintings as a “coming together of the masses, for a festival or a protest,” where individual elements combine to develop a strong visual synergy. Each oval or drip is in fact an individual, created separately through building up acrylic on a plastic surface; the shapes are then peeled off and adhered to the canvas. This process brings yet another facet of Mestizo to the work—the elements are literal migrants, created elsewhere and transplanted into a new paradigm.
The title Bacanales references both Colombian street vernacular—bacano is an adjective implying something is optimal, beautiful, or encourages a sense of joy—and the Classical Roman concept of orgiastic festivals, or Bacchanalia, to honor the rowdy god of wine, Bacchus. This interweaving of historical and contemporary extends beyond the title as Chacon creates his palette for each painting by combining the colors of ancient indigenous textiles with the red, yellow and black of the Spanish flag, or metallic greys that “recall the armor of the Spanish conquistadors.” With color bursting from each canvas, and, in some cases, streaming down the sides and onto the walls, Chacon’s collection in Bacanales is imbued with a sense of orgiastic beauty and celebration.
Work by Omar Chacon has been recently featured in the Queens International Four, the 2009 Biennial at the Queens Museum of Art, New York. Chacon is the recipient of the 2007 William and Dorothy Yeck Award through the Miami University National Young Painters Competition and was also awarded a 2008 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. Chacon shows his work in New York, Milan and Mexico City. His paintings have been reviewed in Art & Antiques, Artnet, and Artweek Magazine, among others. Chacon received his BFA at Ringling School of Art and Design and his MFA at San Francisco Art Institute.