Art: Chaz Chew at the Creative Gallery

Draftsman Chaz Chew mines the imagery of Marie Antoinette’s courtesans, Japan’s opulent geishas and a crowd of attractive dandies seemingly drawn from fashion photo shoots or Gatsby-era narratives. These divergent sources all culminate in a series of pen

Mar 16, 2010 at 2:06 pm

In his current exhibition at Creative Gallery, draftsman Chaz Chew mines the imagery of Marie Antoinette’s courtesans, Japan’s opulent geishas and a crowd of attractive dandies seemingly drawn from fashion photo shoots or Gatsby-era narratives. These divergent sources all culminate in a series of pen-and-ink and watercolor drawings that recall Paul Cadmus and Alphonse Mucha. These scenes are mash-ups of many cultures, a crowding of unrelated characters all in the pursuit of bliss that leans back against Giambattista Tiepolo’s legacy. All of the works are finessed into seductive and vain fantasies — these characters are proud and elite, and are drawn accordingly. Highly coiffed and bedecked in jewelry and accessories, these are illustrations for a storybook about decadence, with an underlying tone of mortality, such as one raven-haired portrait whose tresses are decorated with small skulls. Most interesting is the queered androgyny of many characters, such as the prominent Rapunzel who may well be a drag queen. 

Chew’s exhibition continues through March 27. Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.