Places Rash Me 

LocationSan Giuseppe delle Scalze a Pontecorvo
DateMay 20 - June 10, 2023
T293 is delighted to present Chase Palmer: Places Rash Me, their third site-specific project in the deconsecrated church San Giuseppe delle Scalze.

In this series, the artist chooses to worship the encompassing power of human want. The viewer is always invited to mistrust what is being depicted and what is seen. Each image is a specific invention that is jam-packed with ludicrous scenarios and a misleading surface. Human buffoonery is timeless, and chaos, conflict, and dysfunction are all just results of nature. The imaginary figures depicted always want something, whether it be wealth, efficiency, or entertainment, as with all characters in dramatic storytelling. Humans are bombs, igniting their full force towards dominating their desires, and there is nothing more powerful than the collective.

One of the pieces, Space Invaders, features levels of workers stacked on top of each other around tables, gambling, and assembling. Some figures are drinking and eating in a heavenly overindulgence. With this group of people conspiring over a game of chance, the composition communicates a hyperactive on the verge of nauseating mischief. The uniting force between this disparate collective is the addictive urge to get rich quickly. This hierarchal scene collapses from the weight of the figures piled body against body. The artist is trying to reflect the modern mirage to outwit traditional financial systems. In the Card Player subject, the artist pays tribute to its famous depictions in art history by Caravaggio and George Grosz.

Another piece, Destination Compaction, captures a humorously jammed traffic scene. It is filled with flying and crashing cars, driven by workers on their daily commute. They are passengers representing a multitude of sloppy daily existence while being claustrophobically hurled around in metal boxes on wheels. The center car is turning over with multitudes of trash and junk food toppling over on its dashboard. The shimmering rhythm of the crushed metal is reminiscent of forms in Italian Futurist paintings. With the personalized freedom that the car represents, there is still an unpredictable randomness to what is encountered on the road. Palmer is investigating the thin line of safety where a vehicle driver can lose control, and an orderly line of cars can become a congested clot of wreckage.

In Little Divers, a line of nude figures on a roller coaster is depicted by the artist. The roller coaster speeds up as it approaches the bottom of the composition, and some of the seats transform into contorted figures. The image creates an opposing double action of pained individuals craving endorphin-releasing entertainment while monotonously experiencing an epic rollercoaster ride. This scene is a mixture between afterlife, fetal pre-existence, and non-existence, with a lack of light against the black background signifying an open void that denies its inhabitants visibility and thus causes torment.

All three works are loosely adapted from the Divine Comedy, with Space Invaders representing Paradiso, Destination Compaction representing Purgatorio, and Little Divers representing Inferno. The subject matter is intended to be entertaining rather than strictly religious or moralizing, and viewers are left to decide whether they can see themselves in these painted worlds full of opportunists, gluttons, and heretics.

The artist was inspired by the scale of Le Scalze to explore the epic quality of claustrophobic compositions. Painting on a large scale is an expression of an artist's ambition and ego, as well as being intimidating. The artist paints inside a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, so living with such a large painting is also daunting. Nonetheless, painting on this scale was a release, allowing the artist to create a world that the viewer can nearly step into.

Palmer does not believe that dystopia has an aesthetic. Instead, they find the beauty in dystopian novels such as Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World to be in their rich descriptions of alternate realities that lack visual fulfillment. In authoritarian regimes, valid culture does not exist, and creatives strive to create new and enriched experiences that entice audiences. The artist believes that true junk is made up of blandly ineffective aesthetics that do not engage or ignite viewers, quickly consumed and forgotten like a stale gas station hot dog.

The artist's paintings depict a cluttered humanity twisting, turning, and maniacally laughing in a disoriented intoxication. They mistrust order and reject traditional sober thinking, drawing inspiration from Dadaism and interested in drama and humor. The artist investigates humor without traditional setups or punchlines, using form inventions modeled from a dedicated drawing practice.

Using oil paint, Palmer strives to be an unreliable narrator, uniting opposing energies in stressed, over-inflated, yet vulnerable compositions that struggle to keep up with their own vitality. The colors are built to explode, and repetition in motifs and patterns creates interconnection, with figures sometimes echoing and resembling each other. Whether appearing as anonymous common folk or powerful world leaders, people are always glued together in this crowded humanity.

Past Exhibitions