Careers in the Arts

Careers in the Arts by Chris Regner

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 the Arts will be on view from February 21 to March 20, 2024, at the gallery’s Central location.

Careers in the Arts
Balancing Act, Acrylic on canvas, 56in x 65in

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.

Careers in the Arts
Future Planning, Acrylic on canvas, 56in x 65in

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.

Careers in the Arts
Soul Transfer, Acrylic on canvas, 56in x 65in

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.

Text by Saša Bogojev

Careers in the Arts by Chris Regner opens on February 21th until March 20th, 2024 at WOAW Gallery

©2024 Chris Regner