A certain generative energy between people—the desire to feel one’s physical boundaries melt into another—is perhaps the strongest thread through all of Chase’s work; it’s also one of the aspects of his paintings that drew collector Mera Rubell’s eye. “For me, there’s a lot of action and sensual moments within the canvas,” she says of his paintings. “There’s a communication that is private and loving. Within each painting are humans trying to find each other.”
With his new, large-scale works, Chase says his body was challenged in the studio in a way that it hasn’t been before—a process that he found to be quite transformative. He eschewed scaffolding in favor of moving his paintings up and down the wall or resting them on the ground, so that he would have to more authentically navigate their scale. Physical exertion and muscle memory are important to him—a desire to feel engaged with the work on a molecular and metaphysical level. “I’ve been very sore, but it’s been very meditative and spiritual,” he says.
The result is a painting like Baby boy I know Your tired (2018), where two jumbo figures seem to float in a watery abyss—a kind of weightless, cosmic dimension. Their bodies appear to have morphed into limbless, aquatic creatures. Chase likes to offer reminders that “we can shift and change, and be a multitude of things, because I really think that’s what we are.”