Solitary Us: Couples Paintings
Roberts Projects, Culver City
through August 14
Written by Eve Wood
The nine large-scale figurative paintings that comprise Daniel Crews-Chubb’s newest solo exhibition at Roberts Projects explore with great delicacy and nuanced line work, the complex nature of human relationships. Positioning his figures in poses that are reminiscent of Greek and Roman artifacts that depict the lives of gods and goddesses in mythology,
Made during the Covid lockdown last year, Crews-Chubb explores not only the effects of isolation on an individual basis, but the greater, more complex relationships that arise in the aftermath of enforced isolation. Coalescing a myriad of themes and ideas including human/animal hybrids and therianthropes, Crews-Chubb creates a series of heroic figures reminiscent of artists like Rubens and Titian, yet also suggesting the rich cultural heritage of Celtic mask making during the Bronze Age. The result is a cornucopia of complicated, yet seductively rich imagery that mines the familiar artistic lineage of couples throughout the ages where the concept of the “self” is seen as fluid and comingled, conjoined with a partner.
Each of these nine paintings spotlights a different couple, yet the gestures and positioning of the bodies feels somehow familiar. Each couple appears in an embrace, yet some couples read as more modern while others like the exquisite “Couples 7 (Veronese green light and violet)” read as distinctly Etruscan, or perhaps Egyptian. Each of the nine paintings is titled after the colors that comprise the image, and colors have particular resonance. For example, in Couples 3 (pink and forest green) the lovers appear more Dionysian in their ardor, the man resting his head on his partner’s shoulder as opposed to “Where the wild things are (Greek blue)” where one figure appears to dry the tears of the other.
One does not know whether these figures are male or female, and really it does not matter as their androgyny further accentuates the deeper content. Like the Fauves, Crews-Chubb creates non-naturalistic, expressionistic images that do not rely on specific cultural references, identity or gender ideation. Instead, Crews-Chubb creates images that are instinct with raw energy, cutting and collaging strips of canvas onto the wet painting surface. This intuitive process privileges a raw and uncompromising approach, all the while allowing for the element of whimsy and play to rise to the surface.
5801 Washington Blvd, Culver City, 90232