Cafesjian Center for the Arts   »   Exhibitions   »   Doug Argue: Chicken Paintings

Eagle Gallery

Doug Argue: Chicken Paintings

October 13, 2013 – March 30, 2014
 
I am not trying to adapt myself to a set of rules or a particular philosophy and I approach my paintings in the same way. Each is a survivor of its own odyssey, which gives it a unique history. The scale gives me the space I need to create a record of the changes I make through time, and it helps generate the feeling that the painting extends beyond the image, outside of my peripheral vision and imagination. Each work has its layers of archaeological depths both in its imagery and physically through accreting layers of paint. 
Doug Argue

The power of art is unconventional, free of artist’s mind and the subject’s visual representation. The works by contemporary American artist Doug Argue convey this independence, revived in each viewer and mind. He is a prolific artist whose intellectual and conceptual spectrum encompasses a wide range of creative series executed in different media. Inspired by Renaissance painters, especially Tintoretto, also impressive works of Jackson Pollock, Argue explores the infinite space in constructing his images and creates works of grandiose scale, where ordinary objects are monumentalized and reconceptualized within the vortex of contemporary society.

The Untitled chicken painting and the three chicken portraits from the Gerard L. Cafesjian Collection impress with their overwhelming scale and meticulous execution. The Chicken Painting which took the artist two years to complete is all imaginary, prompted by a short story of Franz Kafka. Before arriving in Armenia, the Chicken Painting was a major public attraction at the Weisman Art Museum, after Gerard Cafesjian lent the work to the University of Minnesota in 1995.

The postexecution echo of the work goes beyond the artist’s initial goal of “creating infinity and diversity in a finite space”. The rectangular matrix of the image, which creates a vacuumlike cube receding into endlessness, produces a giant X in the centre of the painting that seems to challenge the congruence of the simplicity of the composition and the inherent complexity of the work. 

A chicken factory… or an ecological indictment on growing consumerism with 50 billion chickens raised annually as a source of food… or a social commentary on the increasing alienation of humans caged in their virtual cubes? 
Doug Argue expands the chicken concept, creating a series of individualized personalities of chickens, which with their cockeyed, dizzy expressions appear as enigmas or anonymous historical portraits. Here, the most overlooked animals in the world become “an equivalent of a big battle expressing an important shift in human culture”, initially envisioned by the artist. 

The exhibition Doug Argue: Chicken Paintings opened on October 13 and will last till December 29, 2013.

Doug Argue was born in 1962 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. His works are included in numerous public collections, including the Walker Art Center, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation. In 2009, he was awarded with the Artist of the Year by the London Creative Competition. Argue has been the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Prix De Rome, a Bush Foundation Fellowship, and a PollockKrasner Foundation Grant. Doug Argue currently resides in New York City.
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