Colin Chillag’s paintings look unfinished. In Desert Grave with Daily Schedule
, for example, an image of a graveside memorial crisply emerges, but the realistic illusion of the painting ends abruptly as your eye moves out from the center. The artist leaves large swaths of the canvas unpainted. Those areas are far from empty, however. Chillag fills the space with notes,schedules, and color samples—musings from his daily life accumulated over the period in which he made the painting. Everyday reminders of tasks and to-do lists—such as “Valentine’s Day,”and“do laundry”—abut loftier demands on the self like “nourish soul on pasturage found on highest plane of truth.” The painting becomes a document of its own making, a complicated visual representation of personal thought, reflection, and artistic practice.
For the artist, the process of painting becomes a meditative act, an effort toward focusing on the here and now. The painting itself, both abstract and representational, filled with word and image, stands as a memorial to that now-expired time.