For Immediate Release:
Shooting Gallery Presents:
Island of the Colorblind, New Work from Paul Chatem
Shooting Gallery is pleased to present Island of the Colorblind, a brand-new collection of handmade wooden kinetic sculptures by California artist Paul Chatem. The show will be Paul’s first solo project at Shooting Gallery, with an opening reception on Saturday, April 9, 2011 from 7-11 pm. The exhibition is free and open to the public for viewing through May 7.
In Chatem’s Island of the Colorblind, tone-deaf musicians entertain colorblind painters, side-steppers lead forward thinkers, and empty bottles satisfy thirstless drinkers. Isolated by a tumultuous environment, this cast of characters is united by a common interest to survive and thrive despite their differences. He has constructed an entire world of contradiction and wonder, using wood and paint.
Chatem’s folksy, yet modern illustration style is deeply rooted in vintage advertising, comic books, and animation. His finished pieces are subtly aged and worn, creating the sense that they could have just as easily been constructed in the 1920s as much as they are very characteristic of the time we live in now. The main focus of the exhibition is a series of eight large-scale kinetic works,that invite curiosity and interaction. By simply turning a crank, Chatem’s hand-cut wooden gears spring to life, and the viewer is able to manipulate the composition and create movement within his colorful, carefully painted scenes.
Inspired by the writings of neurologist Oliver Saks, Chatem explores his limitations as a colorblind artist by pushing the spectrum of his paints beyond what is visible to his eyes. Referencing colorblind tests, Paul has broadened his typically muted palette to include fields of pink on grey, green on red, as well as purple on blue, all of which blend together for someone who is red/green colorblind. Chatem will also showcase his aptitude for value with his smaller, black-and-white pieces
Paul Chatem was born in 1974 in Bellevue, Washington, but grew up in La Crescenta on the outskirts of Los Angeles, CA. He spent most of his time hunting snakes and scorpions in the Tujunga Wash, exploring the ruins of forgotten ranches, shantytowns and asylums, and ducking punches at punk shows with his friends. Growing up in an environment where nature, history, and the impoverished were constantly being pushed aside to make room for golf courses and mini-malls, Paul has developed a keen talent for representing the rift between rich and poor, the working man and the boss man, in his surreal, often nightmarish, narrative paintings.
Major influences in his creative life include Max Fleischer, E.C. Segar, Tom Waits, Charlie Patton, The Cramps, and his long-time friend Paul Hewitt. He has been honored to show his works at Shooting Gallery, CoproNason, Black Maria, C.A.V.E., and dialect Galleries in Los Angeles, Feinkunst-Krueger Gallery in Germany, as well as numerous group shows in Europe and North America. Paul is currently hiding out in the fog-bound sierra foothills with his tortoises, the mud and the bugs.
The Shooting Gallery opened it’s doors in 2003 to the edgy Tenderloin district of San Francisco; one known for it’s diverse culture and history. Owner and curator, Justin Giarla, founded the space to offer a welcoming environment for viewing the art he loves. Growing up in Southern California gave Justin an affinity with everything lowbrow: pop art, street art, outsider art, punk rock album art, comic book art, surf/skate art and hot rod culture. Giarla has long since recognized how vital it is to provide lowbrow artists with a platform, which is exactly what The Shooting Gallery has done for the past seven years.
Interview with artist Paul Chatem
Interview with owner/founder/curator Justin Giarla
Island of the Colorblind, New Work By Paul Chatem
Opening Reception – April 9, 2011, 7-11 pm
On View Through May 7, 2011,
839 Larkin St,
San Francisco, CA