CHAD WESLEY AIRHART
CARSON-NEWMAN UNIVERSITY / JEFFERSON CITY, TENNESSEE
My paintings develop from two basic forces—chaos and control. I see this polarity of extremes as the ambivalent to and fro of decision and uncertainty, observation and imagination, and the incessant struggle between impetuous enthusiasm and intellectual detachment.
The themes of my work originate from imaginary worlds of gathering people, ants, and memories of landscapes. From a vantage point that looks down, I use the abstractions of people clusters as means to both an imaginary fiction and as reliable design modules to lend structure and unity. I experiment with the ambiguity between figure and ground, color schemes, tactile surfaces, and different sequences of gestures that create rhythm and asymmetrical balance.
The act of painting captures relative states of mind and isolated emotions, and eventually the painting begins to take shape with its own identity. I place my art in the modernist aesthetic tradition, which includes Expressionism (Abstract, German, and Neo-), Cubism, Surrealism, and several contemporary artists such as Frank Auerbach, John Alexander, and Terry Winters. In this vein is a formal concern for spatial compression, paint application, texture, and color as carrier of meaning. As a performance in experimentation and problem solving, a painting suggests an autonomous act of personal freedom within its formal and iconographical components.