Artist to Remember: Alex Chaney

Apr. 7, 2009
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Chosen by Tory Folliard Gallery to be their 4th Annual Gallery Project Winner, Alex Chaney attends his first professional exhibition opening on April 17. The exhibit features four of his paintings, inks on paper or canvas, while the small show premieres Chaney to the art world. The UW-Milwaukee senior graduates in December 2009 and relates these interesting insights and observations about his art career.

AGE: 25

HAILS FROM: Born in Milwaukee, but graduated from high school in Shreveport. Louisiana, and attends UW-Milwaukee in Fine Arts, a painting major.

ARTISTIC MISSION: Raising awareness about art and its relation to history, mythology and spirituality. Higher art comes from higher minds. As a society we've become scientifically critical, mythologically skeptical. So we're open to answers that science gives us but we're closed to any answers myth might provide.

ARTISTIC INFLUENCES: That's a long list⎯as a group, Egyptians, Aztecs, Mayans, and builders of the Gothic Cathedrals. As individuals, DaVinci, Botticelli, Fra Angelica, and Mantegna. Art History looks at groups [of artists] instead of individuals. And in the end, all the art they produced came from above and through them. That's the goal. They were men of talent, taught by men of understanding.

ARTISTIC PHILOSPHY:  From Rodney Collins, who wrote The Theory of Celestial Influences, a philosopher and a Catholic. He stresses the importance of harmony, a balance between understanding the different spheres of life. Religion, science and art were meant to complement one another, propose a whole. Western society has been in the process of resolving conflict between religion and science. Collins and his writings were about how to bring this balance in society. For a lot of my ideas and beliefs, I look to this author.

To discover the foundation of what art has been about, understanding life and death. We don't have anything in our branches of science to help us with that. Myth helps us with that. Myth helps people emotionally accept the mysteries of life, including pain and suffering….. Service society before you serve yourself. Wisdom valued over worldly success. The value of the whole, the whole is greater than the individual, and my trying to love. Also that my contributions to art are more important than my individual art.

ONE PAINTING IN THE EXHIBIT:Love Will Tear Us Apart references the 80's pop song by Joy Davidson, a punk band. The lead singer was famous for committing suicide. Here I'm depicting a male and female figure, and the painting is open ended. I want the viewers to bring their own history to the painting.

Black. It represents where we came from, the womb, and where we're going.

IMMEDIATE PLANS: To continue to work on my oil and ink on paper paintings. To study the figure realistically through drawing in many different medias. And I also want to design T-Shirts and sweatshirts, along with marketing some of my designs on the web.

It's a chance to get my work out there. A great step to becoming a studio artist that may open up opportunities.


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