James Chute
9/30/10 4:31PM

Adirondack chairs are the furniture of New England. It’s hard to see them as anything other than comfort and the outdoors—unless, that is, you’re looking at James Chute’s Adirondack chairs. Then things go a little haywire, because there’s no relaxing to do in Chute’s furniture. These chairs careen into the ground, follow one another like lemmings into the lake, and just plain throw themselves upside-down into a field, as if having given up. Witness the familiar becoming its other. This is comic when it happens with an object so recognizable as your neighbor’s deck chair, but it is also serious. And Chute is very much into its serious side, as his abstract paintings attest. These black-white-and-red canvases, each covered with just a few simple swipes of the paint brush, aim to do something very much like what those Adirondack chair sculptures do, but through an opposite tactic, by using the unfamiliar—the abstract—to give a new and direct experience. What’s ironic is how much more difficult this can be for the viewer. And not just because of that old joke, what’s black and white and red all over. Or read all over. Though that’s part of it, of course. We’re so much more used to the thing that has been read all over, we hardly know where to begin with something that hasn’t.

—Lori Waxman
PREV / NEXT   9 / 34