SHORT CUTS by Charlie Roberts: Taipei Dangdai 2022

20 - 22 May 2022

Date: May 20 – May 22 2022

Venue: Taipei World Trade Center

Booth: S04

 

WOAW Gallery is pleased to present Short Cuts, a solo exhibition of new work by the Oslo based artist Charlie Roberts. For his first presentation in Taipei, Roberts investigates the full breadth of what it means for the modern subject to grow, create, and achieve. 

 

Rendered in soft hues and washed-out colours, Roberts’s paintings have always explored myths, fables, and folklore. In his new paintings, however, he pushes his idiosyncratic elongated figures toward a new register: the movies, and in particular, the leitmotif of the pursuit of happiness, central to American Cinema. 

 

A writer sits at his desk with stacks of books; an artist lounges at a party, while his drawings sit at the dining table; a basketball player practises lay-up; a carpenter, away from his workbench, rests in the shade; the clock’s hands sit just past five and the office worker, book in hand, gazes out of the window. In each scenario, two aspects of labour emerge — ambition and perchance, the need to dream. 

 

Staged to resemble shots ranging from Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused to Mary Harron’s American Psycho, Roberts’s images mimic — while retaining his signature treatment of perspective — the composition and narrative openness inherent to the format of film stills. Ethereal and otherworldly, the series does not fall under the overarching narrative of the feature film; it takes a page from the genre of the anthology and enacts a loose yet storied resonance, tied together with tone and atmosphere. 

 

In The Endless Game, for instance, two figures are seen in mid-air against a vast and delicate sunset, while another two sit on the sidelines, watching the game and waiting for their turn. And in Coffee Break, a figure leans against the shadowed exterior of a building in a leisurely moment, while his tools sit in the foreground, laid out on the table in an orderly fashion. If the cinema is said to be a world that exists just adjacent to ours, then the works invite the viewers to project themselves onto the carefully crafted scenes. 

 

Rather than acting as a form of escapism, however, the projections lead right back to the real world; as the thematics become clear — work, labour, and the pleasure that rests in completion — the paintings insist upon the world we inhabit and the ambitions we project on to it. 

 

 

About Charlie Roberts

Currently situated in Norway, American artist Charlie Roberts, receives his creative inspiration from traditional art, pop culture, hiphop, comics, folk art, and artists such as Matisse, Ensor, Florine Stettheimer, etc. Roberts explores across different medias, blurring the boundaries of forms, breaking established models for art and creation. Charlie Roberts has involved himself in wood sculpting, ceramic production and oil painting. Roberts has the courage to try to create with new materials, styles and techniques; filling his work with energy and unique expressions.

 

Roberts elongates his figures, making them slimmer and giving them seemingly impossibly long limbs; featuring a cast of humans, animals, and hybrid creatures enacting bizarre, surreal scenarios. One might discover a universe of childhood fantasies referring to Greek myths, fables, ancient narratives and folklore. His works are rendered in different shades of blue and washed-out residual colors, creating a mysterious and ethereal atmosphere.

 

Graduated from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada and Kansas University, he has held more than 40 individual exhibitions and participated in more than 30 group exhibitions. Galleri Golsa in Norway and Nevven Gallery in Sweden held exhibitions.