When Jamie Chase came to Santa Fe from San Francisco in 1980, he
was a young artist at the start of his career. His first sale was a landscape with a Milton
Avery influence, which caught the eye of a dealer who marketed Chase as “the next
Georgia O’Keeffe.” The artist would soon dispense of that title and start building a visual
vocabulary of his own doing figurative and abstract works, but his fondness for
landscape painting never faded. Now, more than 30 years after he landed in Santa Fe,
Chase will once again show landscapes alongside his well-known abstracted figurative
work in “Figurative and Landscapes”, running August 30 through September 12 at the
“It's a return to my roots,” Chase says. “When the figurative stuff took over, there were
years when I didn't paint a landscape.” The artist was born in San Francisco in 1954.
He attended art school in the Bay Area for a short time, but dropped out to travel
Europe and educate himself on the Renaissance masters. After returning to California
he painted a series of murals for a bookstore, drawing inspiration from the abstracted
styles of ancient Egyptian art, European cave paintings and Native American art. By the
time Chase moved to Santa Fe, the contrasting influences were beginning to converge.
Traditional landscapes gave way to dazzling color worlds and abstracted figures that
Chase’s figures, which are mostly female, at times become so abstract as to seem like
columns of pure internal energy. They’re inseparable from their surroundings, encapsulated
by fields of pure color. It’s the painter’s way of refining and concentrating reality to
its essence: each person is a unique expression of energy within the larger sphere, an
individual dynamo responding to changes in its environment. It’s a grand meditation on
spirituality and evolution, pure form and space.
For “Figurative and Landscapes”, Chase has allowed real places to influence his work.
“The painterliness of landscape kind of reminds me of certain ways of painting that
feed into my figurative work,” he says. The change could be as subtle as a shift in the
way Chase paints the human form and as clear as the appearance of a figure within a
very real landscape.
These new explorations have in turn helped Chase develop his abstract vocabulary.
“Landscape is the closest thing to abstraction that I can get without going into pure abstraction, where I tend to get more formal and geometric,” he says. “This allows me
to stay organic and lyrical with my brushwork.”
Join Jamie Chase as he looks back at his early career—and forges new paths forward—
at the artist reception for “Figurative and Landscapes” on Friday, August 30
from 5-7 pm. The exhibition runs from August 30 through September 12. For more information,
please contact Jordan Eddy at email@example.com or visit the the Matthews Gallery website.