James Chronister "Bitterroot" & Alika Cooper "Glass"
Eleanor Harwood Gallery is pleased to present two solo exhibitions opening this February, Bitterroot featuring five new paintings by James Chronister and Glass featuring five new mixed-media work by Alika Cooper, in the gallery’s back room Project Space. The simultaneous exhibitions contrast the two artists work, both of which make use of the grey scale spectrum and photographically sourced imagery, while offering viewers the opportunity to experience each unique body of work individually. The gallery will host an opening reception for the artists on February 15th, 2014 from 5 to 8 PM.
In his third solo show with the gallery, James Chronister continues his nuanced exploration of themes relating to nostalgia and his own upbringing through his photorealistic paintings of landscapes and rock n’ roll icons. The seemingly disparate genres are united through their personal significance to the artist, who aims to create an atmosphere evocative of adolescent experimentation and marvel. The work, created through Chronister’s technically dense and laborious process of hand painting imagery sourced from half-tone style printing, presents snapshots of the scenes and figures that influence our interpretation of themes like freedom and rebellion, essential qualities in the coming of age narrative. The title Bitterroot, a Montana native plant, alludes to the Montana born artist’s view of the show as a homecoming and a final revisiting of influences as he shifts his focus and embarks on a new experimental phase in his practice.
Alika Cooper returns to the gallery with a second solo show of paintings made of collaged fabric. Appropriating imagery from photographers who range from Irving Penn to Ellen Auerbach, the paintings use an innovative layering technique to move between abstraction and figuration in a way that simultaneously addresses the histories of painting and photography. Cooper deconstructs depictions of women in the art historical and fashion canons to analyze not only archetypal modes and representations of femininity, but larger ideas of perception as well. Her newest work examines the modernist fundamentals of image making, working with gradients of tone in grayscale, the color range essential to depicting depth and volume in black and white imagery. Cooper’s choice to use only readymade 'fade' pattern fabric allows her to work like a photographer to adjust images through light and contrast. She manipulates her collages like a mirror or camera lens, zooming in and out the imagery to offer different perspectives. For the duration of the exhibition, the room will be painted entirely in grayscale, adding an immersive layer to the work and its graphic foregrounding of the female body.