Careers in the Arts by Chris Regner February 21 – March 20, 2024 WOAW Gallery G07, The Galleria 9 Queen’s Road Central Hong Kong
WOAW Gallery is pleased to present Careers in the Arts, Chris Regner‘s first solo exhibition in Asia.
The exhibition features a series of self-deprecating paintings that delve into the personal and universal human experience, through a lens of Regner’s self-identity as an artist and his encounters with struggles and solitude in the contemporary art world. Showcasing 9 artworks he created this year, Careers in theArts will be on view from February 21 to March 20, 2024, at the gallery’s Central location.
It’s been argued, or perhaps agreed, that every painting, every artwork even, is a selfportrait of the person who made it. Once that is acknowledged, there is a small step to approaching a more pronounced, traditional self-portrait format. And for his Asian solo debut with WOAW gallery in Hong Kong, Chris Regner made that step and focused solely on creating a self-deprecating body of work. Somewhat continuing onto his 2021 solo that dealt with the struggles with masculinity in the context of lacking a good role model, he is now talking about himself as an artist. Lonesomly making work in this day and age, motivated and crippled by contemporary reality and both the personal and universal human conditions, he examines the challenges and sacrifices imposed by choosing Careers in the Arts.
Using exaggeration, caricature, vibrant shades of bright colors, and perfectly rounded, smoothened, and lit VR shapes, the hyper-stylized images merely hint at deeply personal concerns. Evoking Dana Schutz or Peter Saul’s frenzied ambiances, Regner employs humor, goofiness, or absurd to counterbalance the heavier subjects filled with melancholy, empathy, and anxiety. In this light, the Balancing Act, 2024, depicts the fragile and elusive equilibrium of career requirements, marriage, vices, and self-hatred held by a skinny, tired, and scarred (artist’s) hand. The interest in this ongoing clash between expressing oneself, running a professional career, and navigating the demands of society or family is arguably most evident in Future Planning, 2024.
Offering an air of solemnity through an approachable and fun picture, the image shows an artist caught in a calm, meditative posture, getting his seemingly Zen-like state interrupted by real-life concerns. The same tension between personal and professional may also be observed in Soul Transfer, 2023, where the anxious artist literally “pours their heart and soul” into the work.
With his face (reminiscent of Ashley Bickerton’s colorful portraits) reflecting on the Paul McCarthy-like sculpture while being observed and judged by the Grim Reaper, Regner is underlining the weight and intensity of his choices. Ironically, this more personal and revealing approach is executed through airbrush, a distant, highly impersonal tool that leaves no actual mark of the artist’s hand on the surface. And that, itself, could be a perfect metaphor for careers in the arts – baring oneself emotionally and mentally for everyone to see and judge through a significantly removed, one-way communication.
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