Exhibition of new paintings by American artist Chris Finley on view at Galerie Richard
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Exhibition of new paintings by American artist Chris Finley on view at Galerie Richard
Installation view.

PARIS.- Jean-Luc and Takako Richard are presenting a solo show with new paintings by American artist Chris Finley titled “Realtors” in Paris, his first show in Europe. His new works represent real estate agents’s portraits digitally manipulated and distorted with imaging softwares and carefully painted with glossy enamel paint. Chris Finley is a major painter in this generation who assimilated new digital technologies and new aesthetics to the long history of Painting.

“When I begin working from a single Realtor image on the computer (Adobe Illustrator) I save many iterations of the image as I am twisting, pulling rotating the elements of the vector shapes. I will sometimes save 20 versions or more. I am looking for a composition that surprises me. Something I could not imagine first. In reviewing the 20 or more images, I usually find 1-5 versions especially compelling.  If there are many physical paintings of an individual realtor, it is because there were many compelling digital versions created during the process and I was moved to paint each of them. If there are only two paintings of a realtor, it is because there were only two digital images that I felt warranted paintings. My process births twins, triplets, and quadruplets.

As a parent, husband, and educator living and teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area for most of my life, I have witnessed radical economic and social changes brought about by the local tech industry.  The tsunami of money that they ushered in increased the cost of living, exacerbated inequitable housing and displaced many long-term residents of nearby cities. The ability to live near where you work is now a luxury only afforded to the few.

In my series of paintings featuring Real Estate Agents, these gatekeepers of homeowning transactions have been re-configured from downloaded photographs and then digitally manipulated with imaging software. The finished paintings result in humorous and grotesque compositions whose distorted facial features hint at a subtle critique of inequitable power structures within the housing industry.

Most images we see today are seen on a screen and are translations of the real world to the digital.  I am interested in the physical reproduction of the digital image and how that translation from digital image to the material object presents itself in physical space.

"I trained and worked as a sign painter as a teenager in the 1980’s. The glossy enamel paint I currently use is employed by traditional sign painters. My use of this antiquated art form serves as a low-tech antidote to the slick digital design production I utilize to construct the images before painting them by hand.”  --Chris Finley

Chris Finley is part of a generation of painters who have examined and incorporated digital technologies into traditional art practices. His work has been documented in journals and books for his contribution to the evolution of the History of Painting. Most notably, his work was featured in the book, “Digital Art”, published by Thames & Hudson, world of art in 2015. The author, Christine Paul is the Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and Professor in the School of Media Studies at The New School, New York.

 Christine Paul states within the text, “Finley’s work process mirrors the limitations that are inherent to the restricted menu of imaging software: working within the restraints of a set of options determining color, shape, and form, Finley combines elements that are digitally manipulated through rotation or copying. The artist then re-creates the composition on canvas and mixes the colors to conform to the digital palette. The results are paintings where traditional craft blends with the clear-cut shapes and color fields of computer-generated painting.”

Chris Finley was part of the exhibition titled “post-digital Painting” curated by Joe Houston at the Cranbrook Art Museum in 2002-2003. I the book Joe Houston states within the text: “Chris Finley’s restless creatures navigate an environment in which space, matter and time meet in violent conflict. His paintings circumscribe the bizarre world of game space, that multi-layered, shadowless environment familiar to a generation weaned on Space Invaders. This virtual reality assembled from mathematical code and translated into the graphic interface of the cathode ray tube provides the futuristic landscape for the artist’s cybernetic vision.

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