Thursday, February 6, 2014

Seattle art exhibit with Louise Brooks inspired art

A Seattle art gallery is hosting an exhibit of work by Jack Chevalier which features a handful of works inspired by Louise Brooks, as well as some 20 smaller works related to other contemporary film actresses. The show is a mixed selection of Chevalier's work over the last 6 or 7 years - with war, politics, and celebrity being thematic.

The show, at the Linda Hodges Gallery, opens February 6th with a reception from 6:00 - 8:00 pm. It runs through March 1.

According to the gallery website, "Jack Chevalier has exhibited at Linda Hodges Gallery for over three decades. In his most recent solo exhibition, his 16th, Chevalier expanded upon his lexicon of social and political content to include historical references and the personalities that define them, in a format that assumes a condensed postmodern linear narrative. Utilizing a mixed-media approach, Chevalier creates a narrative through a juxtaposition of visual cues unlimited by a stylistic time frame, materiality, or morphology of depiction."

Born in Columbus, Ohio and educated at the Cleveland Art Institute and the University of Illinois, Chevalier arrived in Seattle in the late 1970s and lives and works on Vashon Island. Chevalier has exhibited widely in the Northwest, as well as in New York, Chicago, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.
Here are a couple of works in the show. The first, pictured above, is titled "Empty Promise" from 2012. The second is titled "Warrior Princess" from 2013. More work can be found on the gallery exhibit link.

The Linda Hodges Gallery is located at 316 First Ave S in Seattle, Washington, 98104. For further information, or to purchase a piece, call  (206) 624-3034. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30 am to 5 pm. Check it out.

The artist has provided the Louise Brooks Society blog with a statement. It follows:

"I first laid eyes on Louise Brooks several years ago, when personally  researching the political and social history of 1920's America. A time that seems to live on, or (as some would say) rhymes, so well with our present human dynamic. With this in mind, I was at first  struck by how contemporary she looked in pictures, as if she could have walked off the movie set in 1925 and onto a set today and no one would notice the missing 90 years. But it soon became apparent that this was just the first layer of an amazing life of transparently clear intent lashed, as it were, with the often self defeating consequences of social mores  that would  favor power over natural inclination and expression. The fascinating thing about Louise Brooks (to me) is how she negotiated this contradiction, or rather, lived the contradiction.

On the one hand, she, seemed to hate Hollywood and its attendant careerism's but  rather relied on her own natural experiences and instincts and talents in movement  over convention, and went a long  way toward redefining the craft of acting. She loved modern art but never watched any of the movies she made (until late in life).  She meteorically rose to the top of all her endeavors; modern dance, showgirl follies, film actress, but was always eventually shot down for not playing whatever the inside game was. She entertained the social ladder without  embracing it ( probably out of curiosity). She was notably an unabashed sexual entity, but never used sex to further her career. She was married twice to millionaires and twice divorced without taking a penny. She would rather rendezvous with a lover than please her employer.When it all finally crashed around her she didn't become bitter or blame anyone but herself. Then she re-invented herself and was instrumental in own resurrection as a writer and critic of film history. For a person never empowered by  celebrity, or  outwardly political, or a champion of social causes, or even as a  cultural iconoclast, Louise Brooks continues to inspire in all these realms simply for having been herself.

One of my favorite quotes is:

'For two extraordinary years I have been working on it - learning to write - but mostly learning how to tell the truth. At first it is quite impossible. You make yourself better than anybody, then worse than anybody, and when you finally come to see you are “like” everybody - that is the bitterest blow of all to the ego. But in the end it is only the truth, no matter how ugly or shameful, that is right, that fits together, that makes real people, and strangely enough - beauty…'"

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