Obliteration Portraits by James Chen-Wishart

Starts 05/04/2024
(until 05/05/2024)

Obliteration Portraits is a new solo show comprising 30 original paintings by James Chen-Wishart. The title is a reference to Yayoi Kusama’s idea of ‘Self Obliteration’, which she achieved in her work through the use of repetition and pattern. James Chen-Wishart uses paintings of figurative skeletons in dark voids with heads made of light, colour and organic forms.

I chose the motif of skeletons because while I love drawing the human figure, I think the flesh is too distracting, in the same way I now think skulls are too distracting. They are both already loaded as motifs and have too many established associations. By stripping back the forms to skeletons, I still retain the human element, the gesture, and the story but without the context and without immediately having to engage in the discourse around the ways in which we categorise and differentiate ourselves from one another. I seek to obliterate these things if only temporarily so people are actually looking at my work instead of looking at something they already have established subjective opinions on.

These artworks are to be seen as portraits that call for the re-imagination of the self, taking forward the things that are meaningful and leaving behind the things that stop you from seeing and feeling.

The void space represents how reality is rarely fully perceived by our senses. The organic forms and abstract colours express the altering of perception, for example when we connect with something meaningful outside of the everyday or in the act of creating. I want this to be a body of work to be about humanity, emotions and encounters that transport us to different experiences of our existence. We are all just skeletons walking around in darkness made light and colour through the actions of our senses and our minds.

OBLITERATION PORTRAITS Opens on the 5th of April all are welcome to the opening event from 7-11pm at 212 PRODUCTIONS Everyman cinema Driveway, Entrance behind, 19 Melrose Pl, Bristol BS8 2NG and is open Tuesdays, Thursdays 9am-6:30pm Saturday-Sunday 12pm-4pm until the 5th of May. It is possible to visit other days but it’s recommend to call ahead (07804700868) and make an appointment to ensure the studio is open and someone is there to answer any enquiries you may have.