T293 is pleased to present Writing, Henry Chapman’s debut solo exhibition. Featuring new paintings, a video installation, and a text written for the occasion of the exhibition, Writing posits a poetics of time experienced through observation and touch.
In Chapman’s paintings, description embodies time: notational, calligraphic, and extralinguistic, no matter what the subject matter. “Language being just outside the door,” as Chapman writes in his accompanying text to the exhibition. A runner, a writer, and a suicide bomber each appear as stains, stippled marks, small lyric gestures, and glimpses of bright color on painting grounds of off-white and gray.
The paintings’ commitment to realism is manifest in their paratactic relationship between subject matter. Images from the war on terror—a beheading, a suicide bombing, and the recently released CIA report on torture—exist side by side with less extreme moments of experience, such as the movement of a hand typing, the passing of lunar phases, and marathon runners mid-stride.
Drawing on his interest in Giacomo Balla’s diagrammatic studies of motion, Chapman’s paintings take velocity as connective tissue between disparate subjects. In his video collaboration with American artist Kyle Williams, Chapman projects this concern onto a figure in perpetually frenetic motion. Future builds on an anecdote of a small-time theft of a Brancusi sculptural head, expressing anxiety over impermanence, disfiguration, and art-making as an act of erasure.
Chapman’s textual accompaniment to the work unfolds as an incomplete alphabet between the two extremes his paintings bridge. “I will not exclude pain,” it begins. It ends: “I will not exclude pleasure.”