Henry Chapman (Yale MFA in Painting expected 2015)
“In late 2011, I began to unearth the ways my painting practice had been impacted and provoked by disasters I was witness to, as a teenager in Manhattan on 9-11-01 and as a volunteer on the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. Reading T.J. Clark’s “The Sight of Death,” I saw his diaristic account of two Poussin paintings as a response to disaster. His sustained attention to the experience of these art objects resisted the sensationalism after 9-11-01. I felt his writing helped reveal to me my personal and artistic need to address questions of mortality in my work.” (Artist Statement)
I came across Chapman’s work on a great contemporary art blog called Young Space, which seems to be undertaken in much the same spirit as this site. When I was selecting a piece of work to show here, I was struck by the violence in so much of Chapman’s work. But finding Chapman’s artist statement, and reading through his reflections on the content of his disaster paintings—particularly the work dealing with 9/11— provided me with a different perspective on his work. I do think art needs to push against discomfort, so I am glad he is pursing this thread in his practice.