F Lenore Chinn - Statement

Acrylic, 36" x 48"
Lenore Chinn, 1996

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Artist Statement
Lenore Chinn

I am a painter of great intimacy, and in many of my works I explore domestic interiors and the people or objects associated with them. As an American realist I follow the tradition of genre painting which finds its roots in the works of such artists as Mary Cassatt, Berthe Morisot, and Edouard Manet (American and European, late 19th century). But the psychological purpose of my works, frequently depicting solitary, introspective figures, adds another dimension to the definition.

One is made to feel in close proximity to the subject, situated on or near the picture plane. But the figure is independent of the observer, isolated in contemplative thought. And this isolation is heightened by the visual simplicity of my painting's construction. The technical aspects of each work (use of color, attention to detail and placement of "props") are employed to accentuate the figure's importance. Luminosity, achieved through subtle contrasts of color and juxtaposition of hue, is used to control the impact of each compositional area. The end result is a psychological outreach which evokes strong, intimate personal feeling.

In the words of Philip Leonard, Arts Educator, National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, "There is a willful and deliberate effort to include objects in which one can read a distinctive personality and psyche of the sitter... The Family' is reminiscent of Edgar Degas' 'Portrait of James Tissot'."

My signature paintings, with their super realistic, crisply rendered compositions convey a subtle message of visibility for the socially and politically disenfranchised peoples in my personal social landscape - people of color, women, lesbians, and gay men. In my oversized acrylics on canvas I explore a genre that is largely invisible in the fine arts. Through character studies in contemporary themes I restore cultural difference to center stage, creating a presence which resonates in its luminosity, texture, color and light. While enticing the viewer with a non-confrontational aesthetic these narratives simultaneously challenge old world views and compel a rethinking of how we define society's others.

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All text and artwork are Lenore Chinn.