Caroline Wells Chandler

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What is my work about?

Notes on Trolls:

Perhaps it is the troll who is the most misinterpreted character in the fairy kingdom. Perceived as ugly, slow witted, and an enemy to Christians, the troll is depicted as generally unhelpful to most human beings. The lonesome troll is a misunderstood intellectual. Squirrelly from a life of solitude and craving community, the troll may interact unsuspectingly with individuals in an awkward fashion in the form of riddles. Do not be alarmed. The troll wants to play. Word play is highly erotic for trolls. This is evident because their eyes tend to roll back in their head when you blow their mind–hence proving the safe passage statement, “you may pass if you can answer these questions three.” Trolls are shape-shifters which makes them hard to pin down. If you play football, you would want a troll for a blocker because they are tremendous protectors. Some trolls are mountains.

 

Artist Statement

Regarding Color:

All card games have rules and structure.   Luckily propriety goes flying out the window upon the exciting occasion of drawing the joker! The joker is a trickster/clown archetype responsible for twisting, expanding, and collapsing the rules as they are understood by polite society. The joker is trolli in nature in that it is a shapeshifter, but I have found that it’s thumb print left behind at the scene of the crime consistently radiates saturated technicolor. My most memorable introduction to the joker as the psychedelic-queer-shaman was my primary encounter with it as a child in The Wizard of Oz. In the film, technicolor is used as a psychological tool for boundary dissolution in relation to the hero’s journey. Somewhere over the rainbow is the call; twisting and spinning the cult of domesticity is the first step; and walking through the portal into a swirling vibrant world of singing munchkins expanding language to a ROYGBIV, full spectrum, sepia distilled, alchemic vision is just the beginning of the adventure for Dorothy who wishes to see beyond the monochromatic. The Wizard of Oz is also feminist in nature because Dorothy, who is played by queer icon Judy Garland, is the only character found without defect. The Wizard of Oz is everything I could hope my work is about, namely: radical self love, acceptance, searching for transcendental truths within oneself, intrinsically feminist, body positive, queer, and bombastic game changing color.

The Sequel of Trolli:

Anthropologically and mythologically Santa is a harlequin(ian) patchwork of rich and disparate narratives. Santa has worn many a Mithras stylized cap as Thor, Odin, a problematic Dutch slave master (which causes me to cringle), and Apollo to name a few. Archetypally the magician and the clown are the same figure on opposite sides of the wheel- one perhaps esteemed as more nobler than the latter- and best of all Santa indiscriminately inhabits both! ‘He’ and in the Siberian shamanic variation ‘she’ in drag as ‘he,’ Santa occupies a special place in the hearts of all good boys and girls as the most well known Shamanic figure globally. The Germanic Santa works closely with the devilish figure Krampus, which I’m convinced is just Santa on a bad day. Once upon a time, Santa forgot to shape-shift into Krampus and was caught eating children by Goya in “Sa(n)turn Devouring His Son.” Santa likes to make things by hand and is the ultimate crunchy-granola. He lives at the North Pole (the axis mundi), communes with flying reindeer (mushroom junkies), and works with magical elves (creators of language) to bestow gifts of liberation to those who are pure of heart. Santa sees the world through honeycomb specs which are a secret tool for weighing the heart(s) of humanity. Chimneys are his preferred portal to distribute the sacrament for trans-dimensional travel. Cookies are strange attractors at the end of time. In the off season, Santa hangs up his red suit to don an electric blue fur and moonlights as Cookie Monster in a state of eye rolling ecstasy.

Back to the Future:

My most recent works are hand crocheted drawings. They exist out of a desire to see bodies that affirm my understanding of my own body. I identify as a queer, gender nonconforming, transgender man. The bodies of the figures that I draw do not fit easily into the gender binary. They have a self possessed quality that is sexually joyful and supernatural. Rainbow light radiates from their genitals. Human torsos sprout equine legs. Gentle flamboyant cowbois oversee a stable of Bayeux inspired centaurs. I want my body positive figures to be bombastic and filled with a kind of life that embraces the full spectrum.

 

Tangential to the hand crocheted drawings are paintings of moons. For me art is about devotion, love, and magic. All powerful magicians must integrate the murky aspects of the psyche with the luminous. The moons were an attempt to achieve this in my personal life as well as explore color and texture. I see them as the siblings of the crocheted pieces in that they stem out of the framed blanket works, which are the oldest slides submitted at the end of the portfolio. The crocheted drawings are a more perfect substitute for the blankets. I view the moons as fractal explorations of the trump-loeil casts in the mode of William Blake, ‘to see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a flower.’

 

Before I was able to make the moons I made a series of cookie type paintings that formally and typographically explored the edges of the framed blanket works. Searching at the edges for meaning is conceptually related to my interest in fringe theory. I think in images first. The first painting I made after I moved to New York was Selfie as Chocolate Chip Cookie. It’s a post graduate school PTSD self portrait. The chocolate chips reference the moles that litter my body. I was trying to get at a type of making that felt immediate to me, because I felt half baked and burnt out. I ended up making a series after coming to the conclusion that icing cookies was most likely my primary experience of making a painting.

 

Crocheted sculptures made in tandem around this time focus upon the visionary experience. Hippies morph into beanbag chairs awaiting a body to melt into their globby physique. Larger than life power animals of teddy bears- the voodoo doll for the cult of domesticity sprang into existence. A contemporary cave painting featuring a swarm of cats hovering around a Hawaiian pizza sun was inspired by the fact that most commercials feature cats or pizza. I’m convinced that pizza is a symbol for the great clock, and perhaps the Egyptians used cats to induce mind control on the masses to build the pyramids.

 

To better understand how I like my works to be viewed I’ve included a few installation shots from recent shows. Each piece I make must be strong enough to stand on it’s own but I like to see the work best in an environment. I want my work to function as a morphogenetic field for one to walk through. I hope that the experience is akin to walking inside of a drawing or painting where anything could happen.

 

I included two of the framed blanket pieces because everything that I am currently making stems out of them. They are part of a larger series comprised of twelve works titled Myth Maker. The blankets and the majority of the materials used to make these pieces are sourced from American craft stores. I individually hand-cast cereals and candies that comprise a lexicon of symbol based language specific to each piece. Both of these pieces are crowning puckering buttholes. Their titles Roots Rock and L’ours gets at this. If you were to pronounce the French word for bears ‘l’ours’ like a hick it would sound like ‘arse.’ I also like how the title suggests ‘ours’ because it’s the portal we all possess and everything of consequence passes through it. The butthole is ‘the root’ of the creative experience. I tricked out my buttholes with treats in hope of inducing a glossolalia stylized rim job.   Language is best when it’s structures fail in the face of ‘the image’ which is nonverbal language most perfectly beheld. Most of us artists have to balance being in the world, and walking around with our heads up our asses searching for cosmic truths. So in a way these pieces also poke fun at painter’s ego.

 

 

 

EDUCATION
2011
MFA Painting and Printmaking, Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT

2007
BFA Studio Art, Minor: Art History, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX

2004
Rhode Island School of Design

2003
Universidad de Guadalajara

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2015
The Best Little Whore House in Texas, Roberto Paradise, San Juan, PR (forthcoming)
Queering the Lines, Art League Houston, Houston, TX

2014
Christmas in July, Sanctuary, Pittsburgh, PA
Homunculus, Field Projects, New York, NY

2013
Synchronicities, Open Galley, Nashville, TN

2012
Myth Maker, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA

2007
Will you Remember Me?, The Binkleys, Dallas, TX
Cerebral Chernobyl, Doolin Gallery, Dallas, TX

2006
Listory for Nostalgia, The Binkleys, Dallas, TX

 

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2015
Material Myth, Catinca Tabacaru Gallery, New York, NY
Regan Babies, Ms Barber’s, Los Angeles, CA
She Sells Sea Shells by the Seashore, Eric Firestone Gallery, East Hampton, NY
Secret Identities: Superheroes and Selfhood, Driscoll Babcock, New York, NY
The Royal We, Los Ojos, Brooklyn, NY
NADA, Roberto Paradise, New York, NY
Ornamenting Crime, Zurcher Studio, curated by Irena Jurek, New York, NY
Say it With Flowers, Kimberly Klark, Queens, NY

2014
Video Snack 3, Moma PS1 Print Shop, curated by Lauren Francescone and All Gold, Queens, NY
Improvised Show Boat 2, Katherine Bradford’s Studio, curated by Lauren Britton and Zachary Keeting, Brooklyn, NY
Party’s Over, Topless, curated by Brent Birnbaum and Jenni Crain, Rockaway Beach, NY
Video Snack 2, The Varick Sessions, curated by Lauren Francescone, Brooklyn, NY
Broke Baroque, Sanctuary, curated by Scott Penkava and Rachel Schmidhofer, Pittsburgh, PA
About the Body, Gallery 1989, curated by Lauren Britton, Larchmont, NY
Current: Gowanus, Arts Gowanus, curated by Benjamin Sutton, Brooklyn, NY
Novella Benefit, Novella Gallery, New York, NY
The Smile Face Museum, curated by Adrienne Garbini, Brooklyn, NY
The Monstrous Self, SPRING/BREAK Art Show, curated by Benjamin Sutton, New York, NY
Dream Within a Dream, Real Art Ways, curated by Irena Jurek and Diana Buckley, New York, NY
Do the Yale Thing, N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, curated by Dexter Wimberly, Detroit, MI
Shrink It, Pink It, Cathouse FUNeral, curated by Irena Jurek and Diana Buckley, Brooklyn, NY

2013
Show #17: Top Ten Runners-Up, Field Projects, selected by Benjamin Sutton, New York, NY
Buy What You Love, Rema Hort Mann Foundation, New York, NY
The Beginning of Something, Mieke van Schaijk in cooperation with Koos Kwaks, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
Exile, El Rincon Social, curated by Oscar Cornejo, Houston, TX
Swerve and Fracture, Camera Club New York, curated by Kelly Cannon, New York, NY
Video Snack, 56 Bogart, curated by Lauren Francescone, Brooklyn, NY
Asshole in the Gallery, Loft 594, curated by Margaret Coleman and Yasmin Keshtkar, Brooklyn, NY
Deep Cuts, Anna Kustera, curated by David Humphrey and Wendy White, New York, NY
Postcards from the Edge, Sikkema Jenkins & Co, New York, NY
Interwoven, curated by Kathryn Wat and Melissa Messina, Arlington Arts Center, Arlington , VA

2012
American Craft Today, curated by Mark Leach, The Bascom , Highlands, NC
Texas National, The Cole Art Center, curated by Dave Hickey, Nacogdoches, TX
PDF Release & Party, CAGE, curated by AGWF, New York, NY

2011
Bosch Young Talent Show, Stieglitz Museum, curated by Will Villalongo, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
2011 Yale MFA Thesis: Round Two, Green Gallery, New Haven, CT

2010
Art for Haiti Benefit Auction, Green Gallery, New Haven, CT
MFA 2011, Green Gallery, New Haven, CT

2009
2011 MFA, Green Gallery, New Haven, CT

2007
BFA Show, Pollock Gallery, Dallas, TX

2006
One Night Only, Tyler Street Lofts, Oak Cliff, TX
Cash and Carry, 500X Gallery, Dallas, TX

2005
Crawley and Chandler, Doolin Gallery, Dallas, TX
Taos Show, Taos, NM

 

HONORS and AWARDS
2015
Rema Hort Mann Emerging Artist Grant Nominee

2014
Artist Talk, PI Art Center, Jeju Island, South Korea

2013
Artist Talk, PI Art Center, Beijing, China
Artist Talk, PI Art Center, Seoul, South Korea
Visiting Artist, Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN
Artist Talk, PI Art Center, Jeju Island, South Korea

2011
Ralph Mayer Prize, Yale University, New Haven, CT

2007
Dan Wingren Art Award for Outstanding Senior, SMU, Dallas, TX
Academic Departmental Honors, SMU, Dallas, TX

2006
MUSCRAF Grant, SMU, Dallas, TX

2005
Nominee for Norfolk, SMU, Dallas, TX
Dallas Standard Club Scholarship for Outstanding Sophomore, SMU, Dallas, TX

2004-7
Zelle Scholarship for the Arts, SMU, Dallas, TX
SMU Merit Scholarship for the Arts, SMU, Dallas, TX

2004
Honors Scholar, RISD, Providence, RI

 

PUBLICATIONS

2015   Queer Threads, New York, NY

2015   Topless, Rockaway Beach, NY

2014   “CREEPS V,” The Creeps Collective, New York, NY (Annual Publication)

2013   Chandler, Caroline, edited by Zachary Rawe, “Art School Peer Review,” Issue XV, Philadelphia, PA

“CREEPS IV,” The Creeps Collective, New York, NY (Annual Publication)

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

2015
Cooper, Anneliese, “Video: Unlikely Superheroes -’Secret Identities’ at Driscoll Babcock,” BlouinArtinfo, New York, NY

Steinhauer, Jillian, “The 2015 NADA New York Art Fair in 25 Superlatives,” Hyperallergic, New York, NY

Indrisek, Scott, “Delusional Shopping at NADA,” Blouin Artinfo, New York, NY

Kinnaird, Iva, “Queering the Lines,” Out Smart/Free Press Houston, Houston, TX

Indrisek, Scott, “Artists’ Choice: The Best Shows of 2014: Part I,” Blouin Artinfo, New York, NY

Reese, Derek, “Christmas in July: Derek Reese Interviews Carolyn Wells Chandler,” Pittsburgh Articulate, Pittsburgh, PA

Grand, Robert, “An Interview with Caroline Chandler,” Field Projects, New York, NY

Britton, Lauren, “Caroline Wells Chandler,” Field Projects, New York, NY

Sutton, Benjamin, “World’s Biggest Art Review: 7 Critics Cover 20 New York Gallery Shows,” Artnet, New York, NY

Smeyne, Rebecca, “The Armory Show’s Gritty Downtown Alter Ego,” Paper Mag, “New York, NY

Silver, Leigh, “10 Curated Rooms You Can’t Miss at the Spring/Break Art Show,” Comple Art+Design, New York, NY

Juggernaut, Cojo Art, “Spring/Break Art Show is Your Elementary School on Psilocybin,” Artiholics, New York, NY

Katz, Samantha, “Go Wild at Spring/Break Art Show,” Whitewall Mag, New York, NY

Lynch, Scott, “Photos: Spring/Break Goes Wild With Maggot-Eaten Texter, VW Bug and Other Art,” Gothamist, New York, NY

Heddaya, Mostafa, “Are We Having Fun Yet? Spring/Break 2014,” Hyperallergic, New York, NY

Sharp, R, “Higher Education at N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art: ‘Do the Yale Thing,’ Knight Arts, Detroit, MI

Welke, Jim, “‘Do The Yale Thing’ at N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art Detroit’,” Artifizz, Detroit, MI

Hodges, Michael, “Exhibit of recent Yale grads shows range and reflection,” The Detroit News, Detroit, MI

Indrisek, Scott, “90 Artists Think in Pink at Cathouse FUNeral,” BlackBook, New York, NY

2013
Boyd, Robert, “Exiles at Rincon Social” The Great God Pan is Dead, Houston, TX

Baker, Peter, “Swerve and Fracture,” Twice Two blog, New York, NY

Eler, Alicia, “Carrying on a Political Absurdist Legacy,” Hyperallergic, Chicago, IL

Yeapanis, Stacia, “The Other People Pixels Interviews Caroline Wells Chandler,” The Other Peoples Pixels Blog, Chicago, IL

NY Arts Staff, “Three NYC Group Shows To See This February,” NY Arts, New York, NY

Artefuse, “Picture This: The First Cut is the Deepest at Anna Kustera,” Arte Fuse, New York, NY

O’Sullivan, Michael, “Interwoven: Art.Craft.Design,” The Washington Post, Washington, DC

Schwartz, Chip, “Vox Populi Heads into Uncharted Waters of 2013,” Knight Arts, Philadelphia, PA

2012
Wagner, Amanda, “‘Accumulation:’ Trash as Art,” The Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA

Wagner, Amanda, “For the Holiday Haters,” Cultural Passport Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

2011
Villalongo, William. “Caroline Chandler,” BYTS Catalog, Stieglitz Museum, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands

Greenberg, Daniel. “Caroline Chandler,” Yale University School of Art Painting + Printmaking MFA 2011, Yale University, New Haven, CT

2010

Cannon, Kelly. “Artist Profile,” Dimensions Art Journal, Yale University, New Haven, CT

 

TEACHING

2012-current
Director of Graduate Studies, PI Art Center, New York, NY

2014
Instructor of Painting, PI Art Center, Jeju

2013-current
Art History Lecturer, PI Art Center, New York, NY

Instructor of Fiber and Material Studies, PI Art Center, New York, NY

Instructor of Color Theory, PI Art Center, New York, NY

2013
Instructor of Mixed Media, PI Art Center, Jeju Island, South Korea

Instructor of Mixed Media, PI Art Center, Seoul, South Korea

Instructor of Mixed Media, PI Art Center, Beijing, China

Instructor of Sculpture, PI Art Center, New York, NY, and Fort Lee, NJ

2012-13
Instructor of Drawing, PI Art Center, Fort Lee, NJ

Instructor of 2D Design, and Painting, PI Art Center, Fort Lee, NJ

2010-11
Teaching Fellowship, Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT

2009
Education Department Intern, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA