Critics’ Picks

Untitled, 2008, oil on canvas, 24 x 20".

Untitled, 2008, oil on canvas, 24 x 20".


Cheyney Thompson

Sutton Lane Paris
6 Rue De Braque
March 18–April 12, 2008

Louisiana-born artist Cheyney Thompson’s as yet untitled painting (all works 2008) of a grayscale grid hangs directly opposite the gallery entrance and is the first work one encounters on entering the gallery’s single, pared-down room. Before Thompson seduces viewers with his elegant rendering of tone, form, and depth in two larger paintings on the wall to the right, he reveals the pair of canvases as a mere accretion of tonal values. In fact, these two larger paintings, also as yet untitled, are part of Thompson’s ongoing series “Quelques Aspects de l’Art Bourgeois: La Non-Intervention” (Some Aspects of Bourgeois Art: The Non-Intervention) and depict the detailed forms and patterns created by photocopying pieces of crumpled paper. Here, Thompson insists on mimesis rather than illusion. To the immediate left of the steel entry door, the exhibition’s only canvas painted in color hangs alone on a white wall. Again, as yet untitled, but part of the Thompson’s project “The End of Rent Control and the Emergence of the Creative Class,” this painting engages digital printing’s CMYK scale. By methodically extracting the Y, in this case, Thompson coolly renders a chromatically subdued version of a rumpled detail of his Brooklyn landlord’s plaid flannel shirt. In a city where history is inextricable from painting, yet where contemporary painting is practically nonexistent, Thompson demonstrates, as only a bold American in Paris can, that the medium still holds immense potential. Mobilizing the grand and monumental medium, Thompson uses it to reveal the fissures between clean lines and perfect compositions, as well as the wholly limiting polarity of black and white.