Jeff Chester


Jeff Chester’s works are a combination of colour fields and faces. They place areas of pure color in contrast with flattened, stylized human figures. The colored panels, in one sense, follow on with the modernist traditions of the 1960s. ”What you see is what you see” as Frank Stella put it. They allow the viewer to enjoy color in its purest form. However, the juxtaposition of these panels with the figure also opens a new dialogue, recontextualizing the monochromes from objects into symbols. What is created is a tension between the spiritual and the physical, the image and the object. Themes of existential anxiety, nothingness, death and identity are present in the paintings. The figure is an archetypal human. Not a portrait of someone in particular, but intended to be more like a mirror in which the viewers can gaze into themselves. The works avoid any overt painterly gestures. They are controlled and distinctly anti-bravado. The composition is restrained and the surface is smooth, glossy and carefully crafted.