Alex Chaves has remade Édouard Vuillard’s First Fruits (1899) as the focal point of his latest exhibition, Dizzy Buchanan. For his second solo show at Martos Gallery, Chaves continues his unwieldy, comedic exploration of Post-Impressionist and Early Modernist European painting. Rendered in the same scale as the Vuillard, Chaves’s interpretation, titled first, fruits is a graphic and acid-washed vision of the original. The painting’s tapestry-like portrayal of people grazing in harmony with nature takes on a kind of occult aura. Vuillard’s painting was commissioned for a Parisian apartment of a banking family, to escape the onset of industrialism. Chaves’s doubles this nostalgia, as we bare witness to the fruits of that industrialism: a natural world in deathly decline.
Dizzy Buchanan draws from an eclectic scope of art and imagery. The landscape of the physical and social worlds, and of the body, all figure into Dizzy Buchanan’s chromatic musings; In Evan, Van Gogh’s cypresses become backdrop to a model’s ass; In Camo Court, tapestry is transfigured into modern-day camo print; Khalif foregrounds 16th century cathedrals and embroidered blankets; In Chaves’s emoticon paintings, the digital world becomes a refuge akin to Vuillard’s natural one.
Dizzy Buchanan takes its title from a text written by Chaves, available at Martos for the duration for the show. Chaves’s Dizzy--a nod to The Great Gatsby’s Daisy Buchanan--is a wayward artist and poet, attempting to nail down a belief system in a disjointed world. Like Daisy, Dizzy’s emotions spiral between revelry and devastation. Dizzy is left adrift in a realm somewhere between the historic past, and the people around her. Performativity, avataring, and connecting to painters long-dead are Chaves’s tactics towards breaching the impedance of ambivalence and reinstating a new order, one of emotionality and faith in beauty and memory.