The artist returns to the theme of the city, a subject often dealt with by her over the years. In her canvases, its dynamic energy is interpreted with vigorously animated and abstracted patterns. The exhibition focuses on the city at night and shows a longing for the Los Angeles of the past, as if it was fading away into its history and evolving into a new metropolis.
Claire Chene returns to the city as subject in her new paintings to be exhibited in her upcoming show at FIG. Over the years the artist has revisited the theme of the city often, sometimes portraying Los Angeles, sometimes other places, or sometimes depicting her own invented cities. The city’s dynamic energy, its bustle and complexities, is interpreted by the artist with vigorously animated and abstracted patterns across her canvases. This exhibition focuses on the city at night and in pursuing this series Chene has found she has developed a longing for the Los Angeles of the past, a city that is fading away into its history and evolving into a new metropolis.
The artist writes of her work, "For me cities are a source of wonder and excitement and fascination. I have used the city as subject matter most of my artistic life. The city is also a symbol of the body, an organic structure. Made by humans it is our reflection; our hopes and dreams reside in its streets, as well as our human failings and vices.
In this group of work, the city is mostly a beautiful place, exciting and glamorous. In the past, I have painted Hollywood in its beautiful but terrifying side. Helicopters shining their light on criminals, homeless people huddled in the streets, addicts and prostitutes all bathed in the pink and red and turquoise of the candyfloss city. Broken dreams and crashed hopes seemed the most prevalent idea at that time. Today in a world torn asunder I have returned to using the city, a small part of it, Hollywood in general and Sunset Boulevard in particular to explore and express an idea about change and nostalgia.
As I painted, I had a dialogue with myself imagining the days of chic restaurants and nightclubs and a different time of glamour and excitement. As time passes, restaurants, once famous, close, shops change, buildings decay, the skyline evolves. I wanted to see again the beautiful time, when fancy and possibility were important. I wanted a relief from all the horror of war and the fears of our time. I wanted to see again the twilight heralding a wonderful night to come."
Claire Chene received her B.F.A. from California State University, Fullerton. She lives and works in Los Angeles and travels often to Japan.
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