Opposites Attract: The Art of Chloe Early
Chloe Early's paintings are the stuff dreams are made of. Fascinated by opposites, Chloe blends graceful figures with industrial elements against unfixed, seemingly boundless backgrounds, creating an utopian universe where the strange and wonderful collide. The little figures that inhabit these extraordinary worlds seem unaware of their surroundings, whether be it a ferris wheel, a herd of zebras or instruments of war. There's a sense of escapism and longing for simplicity apparent in each piece, though still resonating is the peril of living in contemporary society--a dream from which we can never awake. In her latest body of work, Chloe finds inspiration in John Milton's Paradise Lost, with each painting depicting a modern narrative of Adam and Eve caught between the beauty of nature and the fallout of post-industrialization. Here Chloe takes some time out to talk about her process, her influences and her upcoming solo exhibit Birdsong and Machine Sounds opening Saturday, October 23rd at Corey Helford Gallery.
Platinum Cheese (PC): Please tell us a little bit about your upcoming show at Corey Helford "Birdsong and Machine Sounds". What inspired you to undergo this project?
Chloe Early (CE): I read Milton's Paradise lost about the story of Adam and Eve and decided to do a show based around the idea of a couple caught in both a very beautiful and a very dangerous place. So I used strong lighting to highlight the idea of light and dark and lots of flowers and within the wreathes I used bullets, bombs, jets engine - more industrial stuff.
PC: Is it safe to assume a lot of your inspiration is derived from classic novels and/or classic albums? There's a connection to both a Spiritualized album and The Great Gatsby with your 2008 show "Ladies and Gentlemen We are Spinning in Space" and to Paradise Lost with "Birdsong and Machine Sounds".
CE: Yes I get inspiration from everywhere , including things I'm reading / and or listening to and also sometimes I like the titles other people have used so I take the idea but change it a little. It helped give me direction this year when I decided to do the Adam and Eve thing, it can be easy to float off into space with your own ideas sometimes and forget where you are supposed to be headed.
PC: Where else do you find inspiration?
CE: Looking at other art, old painting, new painting, walking down the street, nature, traveling, the list is endless...
PC: What is the connection between the female in each of your paintings and you personally?
CE: I don't know if there is a connection, that's one of the reasons why I started using men because everyone assumed the girl was me, maybe she was, a lot of artists paint either themselves or their other I think.
PC: Many (if not all) of your works explore the juxtaposition of utopia vs dystopia, nature vs city, gravity vs flight, etc. Please elaborate on the fascination with these themes.
CE: I find the idea of opposites interesting.
PC: Why linen and aluminum?
CE: I started working on aluminium quite a while ago and I liked how the paint moved around in a different way and also I felt it was relevant to some of my subject matter which was quite industrial. Then I wanted to do some big paintings and the aluminium gets very heavy so I did them on linen. I like both, they have different qualities.
PC: Can you tell us about your process?
CE: I take and collect a lot of photographs of my figures, places, buildings landscapes and objects and then I rearrange element of the photos into a collage on Photoshop and I go back and forth between that initial plan and the paintings, some things change and others stay the same. I never used to have a plan but I wasted a lot of time and paint and cried a lot when things went wrong so I decided to try and be kinder to myself in the studio. I feel a lot calmer now.
PC: Was anyone else in your family an artist and did they encourage your artistic talent?
CE: My Mum is very artistic and has great design sense although she never had the opportunity to fulfill it as a career. But both my parents have always encouraged me to express myself.
PC: Which contemporary artists do you most admire and/or are inspired by?
CE: I love a lot of the German Leipzig painters, Mattias Weischer, David Schnell, also Chris Ofili and Peter Doig are big favorites of mine. And of course I love older stuff too ; Renaissance painters and abstract Expressionists. The most recent paintings that I saw and loved are by Ged Quinn.
PC: If I were to spend the day with Chloe, what could I expect?
CE: It depends if it was a painting day or hanging out day. Painting might be boring to watch so we could just hang out in Brick Lane go for a coffee, maybe it would be sunny and we could go to the park or ride our bikes by the canal..
PC: What's the one thing you can't live without?
PC: The one thing you can't live with?
PC: What's next for Chloe?
CE: New York Joshua Liner Gallery October 2011