My paintings are a narrative of longing and desire through decay; each layer appearing to peel, slide, or break away through time and by weather, revealing what came before and a secret about the place or object exposed. For the past five years I have been exploring the idea of “secrets” in this fashion, mostly in the realm of the Feminine. The female figures in my work represent undeclared desires, dreams, memories, and fantasies; through them, I explore the longing universal to the peoples historically under the jurisdiction of men, subject to childbearing, cooking and cleaning, financial inequality, and being sex objects. To achieve this, I construct my work with a multitude of materials; oil paint, lace, and fabrics handmade traditionally by women for women (like wedding veils, doilies, quilts), photographs, and all manner of found objects. They are layered, then pealed, sanded, or scraped to reveal each anterior level, and often an outward-gazing figure beneath.
Born into a family of designers in New York City’s theater community, Aryn Chapman’s art balances the importance of cultural roots and the unspoken secrets papering the cracks of experience. Accordingly, her artistic practice incorporates markers of family history into seductive, mysterious dreamscapes. Her richly colorful and layered collages on canvases use multiple media and application methods. Wallpaper lurks beneath newsprint partially obscured by photographs, coins, stamps and illustrations. Moody pastes and paints cover all these, creating nostalgic hues that allow certain elements to leap forth while others reveal themselves gradually.
The impression Chapman creates within each canvas is of history determined equally by direct experiences and by the murky half-truths of fantasies and repressed information. Her technique of web-like layering invites connections between these identity factors. Aryn Chapman doesn’t force these narratives on viewers, though. Connections between public and private histories – suggested by framing and positioning within the canvas – emerge progressively.
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