Klowden Mann is proud to present Srijon Chowdhury’s Since The Garden, the Los Angeles and Portland-based artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. The show will be on view from September 10th through October 15th, with an opening reception for the artist on Saturday September 10th, from 6 to 8pm.
Chowdhury’s oil paintings on linen depict his friends and family in everyday scenes that have occurred during the two years since his first exhibition at Klowden Mann, The Garden. The works are made through the application of thinly-layered deep blue pigment, often finished with varnish. The paintings are representational, modestly sized, and usually centered around a single figure; Chowdhury and his partner Anna are the most frequent subjects. Chowdhury pictures himself working in the studio, on the phone, smoking a cigarette. Portraits of Anna show her drying her hair on towels with her face turned half-away, laying on her back in bed in exhaustion or maybe ecstasy, sitting at a restaurant and reading on her phone with reflected digital light illuminating her face. Friends are shown at their own exhibition openings, in the studio, sitting casually at restaurants. Figures fade in and out of the background and can be difficult to see until the viewer’s eyes adjust. Physical features are often simplified, while vibrant details of fabric, a glass bottle on a table, or smoke become subjects unto themselves.
Chowdhury’s figures are solitary even when shown in a public setting, viewed during moments in time that feel (perhaps romantically) contrary to the stimulation to which we are constantly exposed in contemporary life. The scenes are simple and daily, both public and domestic. In that sense, they are reminiscent of the digital images we see running constantly across our field of view on social media, and yet they resist the sensation of speed and consumption that usually accompany such scenes. The subjects of the paintings are revealed in quiet intimacy that seems unplanned, caught rather than carefully composed ‘to be seen.’ As Anna pulls her hair away from her face, Srijon crosses his legs while speaking on the phone, or Katy stands next to her work at the reception for her exhibition, their stillness and the fact that they do not meet our gaze brings us to an interior, introspective space. These images are highly personal, existing in the moments before a conscious narrative can be born by the subject. And yet, of course, they exist as part of a narrative composed by the artist: a fiction of intimacy, or an intimacy of fiction.
Chowdhury’s past work has often focused around an intuitive sense of mythology. His large, dream-like oil paintings composed of floral fields—or arches recalling religious architecture—consider the present moment as part of a larger history, but one that exists outside of our standard linear construction of time. Intended to act in the space between knowledge and emotion, Chowdhury frequently uses repetition to examine the changes and removal that occur with each re-telling of history. Here, the story he is telling is his own, While the work calls back in many ways to Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard, and the Nabis movement in 19th century Paris, Chowdhury’s insistence on interiority and the desire for a languid, unknotted understanding of time speaks directly to a contemporary time in which space for contemplation requires conscious escape.
Srijon Chowdhury (b. 1987, Bangladesh) received his MFA from Otis College of Art and Design in 2013. He has exhibited in Los Angeles at Klowden Mann, Launch Gallery, and Helen Bolsky Gallery, at the Torrance Art Museum, in Miami at Fredric Snitzer Gallery, in Chicago at Sector 2337, in Philadelphia at Vox Populi, at The Gallery in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and in Portland at Upfor. He is represented by Klowden Mann in Los Angeles, and Upfor in Portland.