“Like a Zenith…” the latest exhibition of paintings by visual artist Chantala Kommanivanh is a personal narrative that regurgitates raw color, figures, and hood phenomena that is his life blended with hip hop, Lao tradition and American pop culture.
Chantala Kommanivanh is both a visual artist and one half of the dynamic hip-hop duo “Maintenance Crew” with whom he has released 4 full-length albums. He is currently an art instructor at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. Khommanivanh received his Master of Fine Art at UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts with the emphasis in painting and drawing.
He discussed his influences, which include his “experience as a child seeing the movie Beat Street on channel 9 and admiring the geometric designs in my mother’s textiles.” To him, they “altered and shaped who I am as an artist today.”
Khommanivanh’s work has been displayed in four solo exhibitions in the Chicago/Midwest area galleries and was included in numerous exhibitions in the U.S. He won the Union League Civic & Arts foundation award and twice received the A.O.P Fellowship award.
A key thrust of his work is the way viewers ingest visual media driven culture and how it affects and impacts our identity.
Immigrating to Chicago from Laos as refugees, he struggled with the complexity of dual identity in a violent foreign city; he sympathizes with those in the similar struggle.
The paintings in this exhibition are hybridized imagery where he sampled personal and found photographs as a way to remix and re-document. “Like a Zenith…” details the point of Kommanivanh’s life that he come to learn, experienced, and often find surreal as an outcome. “You got to see it, to believe it…”
The exhibition will be held at Nych Gallery. 643 W. 18th St. Chicago IL, 60616. The opening reception was held August 8th and now runs through September 1, 2014 by appointment.