My intention is to paint what I see not what I think I see
One hot summer Thursday evening found me at the foyer of RISING Gallery admiring the custom mural on the wall. It is smashed with red paint, bracing itself for the compelling woman painted within. The painting grips you, holds you there for a moment and just when you think you are released, she imposes her will onto you as you walk through the works of Chris Panatier, Love Them Now, Always. He captures various moments in a person’s life on wood panel with oil paint. I inspect the series to try to understand his process, and realize that I need to meet this artist and ask him all the questions that came up during my tour of his series at Rising.
We met at a local Italian restaurant. He reminds me of an edgy Clark Kent; his face bright with promise and his tattooed arm hinting at a good time. We exchanged pleasantries and got down to the business of discussing his art. I wanted to know if the drips on the side of his wood panels were deliberate. He let me know that he left those drips there to illustrate the process and felt they gave them a painterly quality.
I was curious about the intent of several of the pieces where only a portion of the face was painted. His thoughts were that the viewer will automatically fill in where there are blanks. It becomes the viewers interpretation of that piece. If you look closely at this series you will notice gaps in the forms throughout. This fact I find interesting, as I only noticed it on the bodies, and now am very curious to see them again and notice where this is true in the faces of these different portraits.
“My intention is to paint what I see not what I think I see”, remarked Chris. Chris’s work I find engaging and has a way of getting your attention with its almost divine vulnerability.
My favorite paintings from this series are Across The Threshold of Understanding (18 x 24 oil on birch panel, SOLD) and The Cotton Mandate (30 x 40 oil on birch panel).
The quality of the wood panels and the application of the paint have you wondering where did this man come from and how did he land here. Chris is from Oklahoma originally, however calls Dallas home. He spent his college years as a cartoonist at the Daily Texan in Austin. He is self taught and takes his art seriously with self directed study that includes the understanding of color, form and application. In addition, he studies with established artists like Bonny Leibowitz to further his craft.
Chris has abstract works showing at Samuel-Lynne Galleries. These are intense works where Chris uses the application of color and his intuitive nature to blast out works on linen within a matter of 2 hours while rocking to Mastodon on full blast. He paints publicly once a year to illustrate his intense process of painting. This is surely a sight to see for us all.
I love how his influences include amazing women painters like Jenny Saville and Angela Fraileigh. His works seem to understand intuitively what a woman may be trying to convey with a vulnerability that is inspiring. Chris isn’t concerned with gender labels and this sparked my interest regarding his artist picture of him dressed in drag. The question begs, “Are you wearing women’s panties right now, Chris?” and the answer “No” with a laugh follows.
In a recent statement about his work, “In a world that seems to be swirling with any combination of catastrophe, deception, politics, war, and uncertainty a moment of truth is like a shelter you can always rely on”, gives you just a taste of what this particular series reveals in its truth.
I say, “Bravo! Bravo!”.