Chase Muller

 

Painting has served for centuries as a method of documenting the observed realities of life, or the artist’s perception of those realities. Similarly, my paintings preserve elements informed by a range of contexts that exist within truth, but beyond absolute fact. This is where painting as a medium can serve as a kind of extended, but not permanent, form of preservation, as the factors which may have defined the work during its creation proceed to shift afterward. The paint may define a steadfast presence, but is not absolute, and may be altered, restored, or redefined at a later point in time. These images are constructed from a varied collection of photographic reference images that are then grafted together on the canvas to create a unified scene.

Brackenridge Hospital (2019) establishes the preservation of a memory, a specific point in time that photography failed to capture. This is the first in a series of twelve paintings which displays Austin—the city in which I was born and raised—as a memory, rather than as it exists today. While this work chronicles the history of an overwritten past, Lamentations (2020) preserves the endurance of human will and the experience of persisting in the face of constant adversity. 2020 presented unexpected challenges to people across every background of life (while some are more affected than others). This painting depicts a compilation of the persistence demonstrated by countless people to contradict rigorous and unpredictable circumstances. Observing the immense suffering of close friends and family has been an indirect challenge presented this past year, but a challenge nonetheless.

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