Contemporary Expressionism by Chuchin Gutierrez from Chile
I discovered Chuchin Gutierrez art on my first visit to Santiago, Chile, in 2018. We were traveling from Santiago up to Atacama desert and then crossed over to Argentina and back. In December of 2018, Santiago was one of the most peaceful, if not sleepy, cities I have ever seen. Quiet, quaint, full of tourists sipping on their espressos and enjoying the early summer breeze. And while in Santiago, I knew I had to visit Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art or Museo de Art Contemporaneo. Somewhere next to the large exhibition of the Chilean most famous artist, Roberto Matta, on the walls of the museum cafe, Chuchin's art was modestly hung. I wonder how Roberto Matta's career has started? I reached out to Chuchin soon after, and our relationship has begun. Little did we know back in December of 2018 what Santiago will look like in December of 2019.
I happened to be in Chile a year later in December of 2019. The same museum was covered in graffiti. Santiago was in the middle of what looked like a revolution. And Chuchin's paintings with its brute colors and the subjects of "marginals" were in much more appropriate surroundings. Who knew that the contemporary expressionism would get out of the museum walls and on the streets of Santiago.
WHY CONTEMPORARY EXPRESSIONISM?
While searching online for the best definition of Chuchin's work, I found a nice bullet list on the key characteristics of contemporary expressionism:
- Use of intense colors. Check! His colors are bright and unnatural, perhaps as emotions can be black and white, and sometimes overly exaggerated. And sometimes, bright colors get to the point and emotional response quicker.
- Thick and distorted traces. Check! Chuchin doesn't bother making thin lines. He is making a statement.
- Focus on subjective aspects. Hmm, maybe. Not sure about this one. Maybe you see it.
- Tragic vision of the human being. Check! His portrayal of Homeless is what brought me to his work. It was not the first painting I saw, but it is the one that had the most lasting impression. It tells me more about him than all others. Living in San Francisco, we're no strangers to homeless people. Hey, I have one living 50 yards away from my house. Yet, their broken, disfigured faces, just like their disfigured, broken lives are no less human than some of the most realistic human portraits.
- Exposure to the pessimistic side of life. Check! Well, not all of them, but he is not afraid to show the other side of life. Some of his early paintings (e.g., "Plastic Girl") are definitely more optimistic, but I think he wants us to see the other side.
- Deformation of the reality of the world. Check! See Nerin World below. Looks quite deformed to me
- Expression of individual freedom. Hmm. This one I struggle with. Maybe you see it
- Use of three-dimensionality in works. Good questions. I don't know. I see them mostly flat, and it is the color that drives dimensionality for me.
Chuchin was born in Bogota, Columbia. He now resides in Requinoa, Chile. He defines his style as Contemporary Expressionism and Marginal Art. I am still working with him on a proper artist statement, in the meantime, he is quote shy and doesn't like to express himself verbally. So the line below is all I got from him :)
In his own words...
Husband, Dad, son, brother, uncle, godfather, and in my spare time Architect! And if I have time ... I'm chuchin !!