Colin Chase is a sculptor based in New York City who works primarily with wood. Geometric abstraction underlies the artist’s compositions that incorporate a small number of found objects to serve as details that connect details of a larger narrative. Most recently Chase has focused on flatness seen typically in painting, but with a sculptor’s vocabulary. In his current series large, square wood forms feature an exchange between high and low relief, touched lightly with one of the three primary colors that are either woven deftly throughout the structure’s surface or set upon the fringes that appear throughout the picture plane.
unsquare dance #4 (2014) measures 32” x 34”, roughly square, while each row of wood alternates black polychromed, repurposed OSB with light surfaces of birch. The slightly raised surface that appears to shift and terrace only becomes apparent when a soft hue of blue emerges periodically throughout. Chase’s dialogue between painting and sculpture also appears in Talking stick: mantra # 7 (2014) that comprises vertical strips of white-painted, repurposed wood overlain with smaller-cut horizontal fragments. The ends of each small component show a color – reds or blues – that is seen primarily from the side, functioning only as a shadow otherwise. Talking stick: mantra #10 (2014) is a crescendo of birch and pine presented in vertical and horizontal relief that are both evenly juxtaposed from the center of the picture plane. Unlike the previous piece, which is larger, this one measures 24”-square with a depth of 1-inch. It also lacks any paint or color, challenging the process of vision and judgement while leaving the wood exposed for a natural time-based patina. Talking stick: mantra # 8 (2014) also shows exposed, bare fibers but with a different pattern, showing less warp and more weft.
Over the past three years Colin Chase exhibited widely throughout New York City. However his work has been seen frequently around the country in cities such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Gambier, Ohio; Bennington, Vermont; and Arcadia, California. In 2011 Chase participated in Loosely Coupled, a group show that took place on Governors Island, New York with sponsorship by the West Harlem Art Fund and in 2013 Governors Island included his sculpture in Rising Tide, curated by Sarah Schmerler.
Chase has had seven solo exhibitions at the June Kelly Gallery located in SoHo, New York – the most recent in 2012, titled contronym: new sculpture. After completing his MFA at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, the artist was selected as the Artist-in Residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. Chase has also been twice awarded the PSC-CUNY Research Award in the Visual Arts. In 1998 the artist completed a public art commission titled Malcolm X Memorial for the Percent for Art Program that was sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York City Economic Corporation. Colin Chase’s sculpture is featured in the collection of The Studio Museum in Harlem in New York, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York as well as The New School, Prudential Life Insurance Company, the Kenkeleba House and AT&T in Chicago, Illinois. The artist is currently showing work in TransFORMation that is on view at Governors Island through September 28. 2014.