Chantal deFelice

Remembrance is the Perfume of the Soul
A study on the beauty of loss and longing, through ink drawings on paper, paintings on wood and photography… a solo exhibition from Chantal deFelice

Artists Statement:
I think one of the most defining characteristics about where my inspiration comes from, not just for my artwork but for my life, is nostalgia. A longing for the aesthetic of the past, for the romance and anguish that I imagine as less filtered by new technology, less rushed by the pace of modern society.

For this show, I intend to share with the viewer some of my ponderings on the subject of remembrance, and my attempts to find beauty in the midst of loss or in the pain of longing, as seen through my drawings, paintings, and photographs.

The subject matter featured in my black and white ink drawings is based on treasured family photos, and focuses on the women of my ancestry. My Nana passed away this last May and my Gramsie disappeared without a trace four years ago, and in this time I’ve had endless revelations, brought on by books, pictures, and dreams, about their lives, the lives of women in history, and the ways in which my life connects to these threads, how it is sustained by this collective energy and strength. When I create a drawing, I draw directly- with no underlying sketch or erasing. I love that it becomes this exercise in balancing control with a reliance on the intuitive.

For my wood paintings, the images are buildings and neighborhoods that invoke in me a specific and personal longing, for a place, a lifestory, or a time in history that I yearn to experience. My interest with the telephone poles comes from the same imaginings of other lives, other stories. What technology that is visually pervasive in our daily landscape is virtually the same as it was over a hundred years ago? And to know that they are beginning to disappear, with lines being buried and signals being sent into space…and the whole concept in general of all of these lives- dramas, triumphs, mundane business- zipping above our heads at an incomprehensible speed, travelling the country or across the ocean in an instant…it fascinates me!
As far as my making process, I use mainly quality salvaged scrap wood, for original paintings, frames and three-dimensional pieces. I normally drill, cut and sand most of it myself and have come to crave the satisfaction that comes from woodworking.

This will be the first gallery showing of my photography, which has long been a personal passion and interest. I am selecting scenes that have wistful or aching memories attached to them, or that convey a sense of loss that can be felt universally. The prints are large-scale in order to bring the viewer closer to that fragile moment in time and space, to see them as through a microscope, this little glass slide from my catalog of studies of the world around me.

Born in the Oregon countryside, and lived most of her childhood in the town of Eugene, Chantal was often found collecting leaves in the fall, carrying rocks in her pockets and generally being mistaken for a boy. Summers and holidays were spent south visiting family, Disneyland and the beach, eventually moving to the area when she was the terribly shy and awkward age of twelve. After surviving high school, she did a bit of moving around, studying art at three different colleges before finally graduating from Laguna College of Art and Design with a BFA in Illustration in 2004. Nowadays, she lives and works as an independent artist in Southern California, and finds her creativity motivated by travel, art, literature and most noticeably, by older urban landscapes and the nostalgic storytelling that their visible decay represents.

Opening November 4, 2011, through November 26, 2011.

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