Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Artist's talk - Kevin Chupik

Currently showing at the Brett Wesley gallery is Plumage by Kevin Chupik. The artist gave a well-attended slide presentation and overview of his painting career to date. He graduated from Texas Christian University in 1992 with a B.F.A in Painting and Drawing and received his M.F.A. from the University of Colorado. Chupik moved to Las Vegas in 1997 where he teaches at the College of Southern Nevada.
He describes the 1989 exhibition 10 + 10: Contemporary Soviet and American Painters at the Museum of Fort Worth as being very influential due to his previous interests in post-war Soviet Social Realism. Other artists pointed out as influential on his practice were David Salle, for his focus on poetic narrative, Belgian Surrealist Rene Magritte, for his deconstruction of the female figure, and James Rosenquist for his formal interest in divided or segmented picture planes.
Another formal influence on Chupik is French Pointillism from the late 19th century which he sees as offering the potential for great complexity of color via scientific theories of optical mixing.
His process involves sourcing images from the internet, then cropping and adding filters or color effects. He chooses to work freehand, rather than projecting or tracing images onto the canvas, which deviates from the classicist tradition of using the camera obscura or the cartoon process during the Renaissance period. Each painting first has tonal areas of color blocked in, then the slow process of adding color marks begins, concentrating on the relationship of complementary colors. A large painting can take up to 400 hours to complete.
With an interest in both classicism and modernity, Chupik aims to fuse and balance the two in his work. The female form has been a recurring theme and this current series of juxtaposed images features birds and women. Chupik says he has realized these works are really about male and female relationships.
Asked if he had any advice for upcoming artists, Chupik responded "Take your education seriously and quickly find out what you like to do and do it. Try it all as quick as possible, then focus in on one thing. I try to steer students away from the trite, the cliche. It doesn't mean you can't later revisit it".

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