Elephant Room Gallery will be exhibiting new works by Chicago-based, Laotian American artist Chantala Kommanivanh with an exhibition entitled, Frontal. The exhibition opens with a reception on Saturday, October 8th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm and runs through November 26th.
Chantala Kommanivanh’s new work Frontal is a collection of paintings depicting minority subjects in front of decaying and emerging backgrounds. The work investigates our encounters with cultural identity; innocence, vulnerability, racism, stereotypes, gang life and hip-hop, through portraiture. Kommanivanh extracts the figure from its urban landscape and exaggerates its “realism” in mixed media, layered with drawn and painted graffiti marks. Frontal has glimpses of photographic clarity combined with colorful and, at times, aggressive abstractions. The paint drips signify the merging and separation of emotional conflicts and the struggle between the figure, its environment, and the viewer.
Frontal will be on exhibition at Elephant Room Gallery’s South Loop location at 704 S Wabash Ave. Viewing hours for the exhibition can be found on the gallery’s website: www.elephantroomgallery.com
Got a chance to chop it up with LaStory “Breakin’ Barriers” Hosted by Sengvilay “Kid Jungle” Aphay. We discussed growing up and being only one of the first Laotian in his neighborhood of Chicago and the push and pull of being Lao and American.
After the United States pulled troops out of the Southeast Asian conflict in 1975, many Laotians were scattered across the world as refugees. “Sabai, Sabai” is Kommanivanh’s visual documentation of the Lao American diaspora in Chicago, as 2015, marks their 40th anniversary. His figurative and abstract paintings are a combination of mixed media, oil, and spray paint on traditional canvas that both commemorate and inform viewers about displaced Laotians longing for a place in urban society.
This work is inspired by his family’s migration to Chicago as political refugees, and the struggle with dual identity they shared with many Laotian Americans. Influenced by his hip-hop upbringing, Kommanivanh sampled traditional Lao textile design, and re-presented it by overlapping graffiti marks on top of gestural impressions creating rhythmic dancing pattern.
We hope you could join us welcome Chantala Kommanivanh’s new paintings at Nych Gallery.
The gallery is free and open to the public. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday 12-7pm and by appointment.
Nych Gallery // 643 w. 18th st. Chicago IL, 60608 // http://www.NychGallery.com
This video was filmed years ago and never before released and due to Light Box’s personal content i kept it in the vault until now. It was about time i came to terms and except everything beautiful dies in winter. Light Box is one of my favorite tracks off the 4th Maintenance Crew album “The Collapse of a Mcdonaldlize Society” (available on ITUNES). Take a look…
I’m excited to return to Chicago and kicking off the summer with a solo exhibition “Forget Nothing”. The show is a documentation my history, reinterpreting my childhood memories through paint. I am interested in the flux of Southeast Asians experience growing up in the 80’s mixed with hip hop culture and the struggle of urban identity. “Forget Nothing” opens June 14th, 2013 and will run through July 8th, 2013.
(Opening reception with refreshments June 14th, 2013, 6-11pm)
Live music by Dj “?” and The Chancellor
643 West 18th Street.Chicago, IL 60616
Last summer I got a chance to work along side some of Chicago’s finest in competition for Red Bull Curates cooler design. It was an honor to be selected by Red Bull to compete, and big ups to the three artist (Hebru Brantley, Don’t Fret, and Goons) who went ahead to rep Chicago at Art Basel Miami 2012.
UW-Milwaukee 2013 MA/MFA Candidates
Shot, Edited, and Directed Chantalism
University Wisconsin Milwaukee presents Spring 2013 MA/MFA Thesis Show.
Arts Center Gallery (Inova/Arts Center Gallery, On the UWM Campus)
Arts Center Building, 2nd Floor
2400 East Kenwood Blvd., Milwaukee, WI 53211 Map
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11 am – 4 pm.
Opening Reception: March 8, 2013 (5:00-7:00pm)
Gallery Talk will be: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 (4:00-6:00pm)
Segmented Real[ISM] represents bits and pieces of my childhood experience. I am interested in reinterpreting the past as an attempt to document my history. The paintings are derived from personal and found photographs representing a pivotal time and place in my life. I grew up in a very diverse immigrant community in Chicago. At home, I was raised with traditional Lao customs, but actively engaged in hip-hop culture outside my home. This body of work embodies a cultural hybridity; it blends my Laotian up bringing with urban American imagery.
With the guidance of photographs, I am re-experiencing familiar places and visiting familiar faces by the act of painting them. Through this process I am activating one experience to intensify another. These paintings are of children affected by cross-cultural conflicts and tensions that create issues of personal identity. They are of single and multiple standing figures and they are at times confrontational. I handle paint loosely, with a mix of soft and aggressive marks layered with lush drips of diluted paint. The intense, vibrant colors and broken, aggressive marks are used intentionally to disrupt the balance between normalcy and discomfort. The figures in the paintings are treated crudely. Their faces are melting, their mouths are crooked and their eyes are staring right into you. They are ugly, but they are only children.
In this body of work, I am pulling inspiration from my experience with graffiti, both as a spectator, and as a former participant. As a painter I am interested in decaying surfaces that are activated with graffiti. I am intrigued by its complex layers and textures. In these paintings I am reaching for the same effect, a palimpsest of marks on top of marks that build up a history, leaving residues and memories of the past.