Cheyney Thompson | the artist

The artist Cheyney Thompson
Born 1975, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.
Lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Style and technique of the artist: Painting, Sydney Biennale,

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Works and biography

From the brushstroke, minutely controlled, to the expansive market context in which artworks are disseminated, Cheyney Thompson’s paintings, photographs, and installations investigate the contemporary landscape of invention and distribution. His 2006–07 show at Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York offered a systematic exploration of this network. Entitled Quelques Aspects de l’Art Bourgeois: La Non-Intervention (Certain Aspects of Bourgeois Art: Non-Intervention), Thompson’s installation comprised multiple parts: a series of twenty-five color offset lithographs depicting the gallery’s art storage bay, clustered in five quintets; four large abstract grayscale oil paintings derived from blurred photocopies; and eight lightweight folding tables on which were displayed sixteen imageless photographic prints progressing from white to black. A viewer following the diagonal path of the tables would traverse the gallery to be led to the storage bay pictured in the lithographs, completing the narrative circuit...

Thompson’s diverse works explore the artistic process, and his painting, sculpture and installation work are immersed in ideas of their own conception and realization —from production, to exhibition, to the eventual reception by the viewer. In a recent series, for example, Thompson derived imagery for a series of large-scale paintings from the digital scan of their linen support, a strategy of producing art from the inside-out.

Thompson’s abstract oil paintings on canvas are made in such a way that they track their own time of production using the Munsell color model. In Munsell’s system, color is named according to three descriptive categories (hue, saturation, and value), which result in a complete, and asymmetrical color space. In these paintings, the color system is grafted onto a calendar. The month, hour, and day of the time of production are indicated by colors on the painting. Each day has a complementary hue pair, each hour changes the colors’ value, and each month the saturation changes. Noon is absolute white and midnight is absolute black. This motifs of the paintings are derived from an enlarged digital scan of the linen canvas texture on which they were painted, and the complementary color pairs which make up the resulting delicate, grain-like pattern are executed by hand using minutely-controlled brushstrokes.This creates a very repetitive process, which produces subtle variations in the appearance of the works. Also, it provides a system of producing paintings which, in theory has the potential to produce a smooth gradient that represents a continuous flow in time, and also registers the artist’s fatigue, distractions, interruptions, and the inability to work at all times. Thompson states, “Painting is here equated with a kind of wage labor, where time itself, the time of life, has become a discrete set of countable units and plotted within the support-- painting. But of course pictures always say more than they intend, so that even if the paintings are the result of a highly instrumentalized reasoning, they seem to picture a kind of desire which is rooted in the laboring body.”Each of the five paintings in the exhibition, which the artist refers to as chronochromes, shares the same height, with every width numerically unique.