“For more than 40 years I have been a painter of people, looking closely at their faces and what they reveal,” Laura Chasman writes of her current exhibition “Barely Visible” at Gallery Kayafas in Boston from March 1 to April 6, 2019.
The Roslindale artist has painted her family, kids, adolescents, monks, elderly women, nurses. Her portraits are often based on photos and brushed in an apparently casual, sketchy manner, like notes quickly jotted in a journal, precisely observed. It’s hard not to wonder if her background as a psychotherapist and in social work has something to do with that.
Her 2018 series “Barely Visible” depicts the tall front desks of art galleries in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood and the tops of heads peeking out from behind the barricades. It’s a familiar sight to anyone who’s toured the Big Apple’s white cube galleries—sleek, anti-social minimalism with an air of elite aloofness and intimidation.
Chasman turns the scenes into wry, loosely-painted, gray, minimalist paintings.
“High walled reception areas, along with computer screens, blocked from view the faces of those working within these spaces,” Chasman writes. “All one generally can see is the top of a head punctuating through these barriers. Using my own photographs as reference, I was inspired to make a series of paintings of people who are barely visible.”
The gallery desk paintings are accompanied by Chasman’s 2013 paintings of art fair scenes painted in gouache on cardboard FedEx shipping boxes, mulling “the art market today and the business of selling art.”
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