CINCINNATI, OH.- Country Club
presents Peak and Flow, Fritz Chesnuts concurrent solo exhibitions in both Los Angeles, CA and Cincinnati, OH. These are his first solo exhibitions in both cities. Fritz Chesnut is well known for a dynamic series of photo-realist paintings of crowd scenes and performers that deal with fandom and idol worship. Chesnuts move to abstract painting, though formally opposed to his previous work, similarly mines ideas of the transcendent and the sublime. Chesnut has turned his attention to his interest in surfing. Referencing waves, moving water, outer space, mudslides and molten lava, this elegant new work evokes the moment of climax either in nature or in the psyche. Part psychedelia, part color field painting, Chesnut marries surfing zen with modernist abstraction yielding a distinct California feel with saturated and sometimes garish fluorescent colors.
These paintings mark Chesnuts year and a half long process of exploring the ability of paint to both represent and mimic water. Chesnut paints without a brush, instead pouring, spraying and dripping paint with the canvas flat on the ground and then manipulates the paint by tilting and turning the canvas. Washes of paint create space and blooms of color resemble explosions. In paintings such as Nothing (2010) and Cannonball (2009), both all over abstraction and imagery conjuring outer space and surging water effectively coexist. Both minimal and expressive, organic and studied, Chesnuts paintings come from a place of both punk catharsis and intellectual rigour.
Fritz Chesnut was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico and raised in Santa Barbara, California. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1995 and received his Masters of Fine Art from Rutgers University in 1997. His first solo exhibition was presented at Bellwether in 2002. His work has been exhibited in New York City at White Columns, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, ARENA Gallery, the Dumbo Arts Center, in Buffalo at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, in Milan, Italy at Marella Arte Contemporanea and in Los Angeles at Country Club. His work has been reviewed in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time Out NY and Flash Art among others and featured in Harpers and Spin magazine. Chesnut lives and works in Los Angeles, California.