Roger Chavez is a Philadelphia artist whose paintings push the boundaries between genres such as portraiture, still life, and landscape, and assert the permeability of such boundaries. Chavez’s painterly brushstrokes delineate subtle shadings and spaces. His canvases range from the very intimate to more expansive essays in the layering of color and the adding, subtracting, and merging of forms.
According to Chavez, “For me, the subject matter serves as a point of departure, allowing me to find my own forms through exploring the subject. The immediate accessibility of the still life facilitates my focus on the objects themselves, their shadows, shapes, and the space they occupy. In my working process, I focus on the same object(s) over an extended period of time. In working on one subject over a stretch of time, the physical arrangement of the subject is not based upon a scheme for a potential source of new visual information, but to confront the subject matter as a whole. Thus, the placement of the objects rarely changes, and this provides an environment to discover something new within the same objects and the space around them. Each attempt to paint my subject matter becomes new and different. The paintings are not initiated with a specific simplicity or psychological meaning, even though these qualities are residual outcomes. Fueled by quotidian reality, the psychological outcomes in the works insinuate auras of mortality, timelessness, and identity. My painting process involves a significant amount of adding and subtracting of painterly forms, resulting in an agglomeration of forms as they overlay preceding forms, increasingly concealing the real appearances of the subject matter. In the process, my color palette results in the use of muted colors and tonal grays, deriving from the use of the prismatic hues as these afford more vibrant and colorful grays and allow for subtle changes in color and temperature in the paintings.”