The five new paintings in Henry Chapman’s Phthalo Blue Red Shade grew from short prose accounts written while traveling through Rome, Berlin, and the western U.S. in 2016. By turns personal and fictional, mundane and funny, Chapman’s writing describes the material and spiritual processes of art making.
These narratives appear in the paintings as blocks of printed text: visual, compositional and physical (acrylic-based silkscreen printing ink). Chapman paints around and between his writing. In painted and printed marks, cuts, scrapes, and stains, he develops images of figures whose loose boundaries suggest transformation, merging with one another or with the painting space itself.
Each work engages painting, printmaking, drawing and short story writing. The works resist both caption and illustration. Instead, they embody the conjunction of internal and external life, reflecting Chapman’s interest in the simultaneousness of emotional, visual, and material experience.
The exhibition title, taken from the paint color ‘Phthalo Blue (Red Shade)’, identifies a color, a compound, an organic material and a commercial product. It is a color that recurs in each painting.