Alex Chaves “Oaks of Righteousness” Martos Gallery / New York

April 4, 2020

Chaves’ new portraits are archetypes of women. These figures are embodied as warriors, seductresses, sleeping beauties, officers, and soldiers. The exhibition considers the representation of the female form within both combative and tranquil settings. Chaves’ work alludes to modern European masters with appropriated imagery from Gauguin, Degas, and Derain among others. His subjects are painted from life – fellow artists, collaborators, and muses supplant traditional figures of aristocratic portraiture in Chaves’ performative renditions.

For “Oaks of Righteousness”, Chaves presents his third monumental landscape — an homage to Andre Derain’s La Chasse (1938 – 1944). His reinterpretation includes Ancient Greek figures and electrified fauna superimposed upon the muted earth tones of Derain’s original.

Chaves furthers his exploration of language with large-scale painted “E” sculptures reminiscent of the textiles and patterns in his paintings. The flattening of forms and use of symbology continues in the gridded tennis court paintings. Chaves tends to focus on sites of intimacy and conflict, whether they be in the natural world, the battleground, or the bedroom.

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