The paintings, sculptures, and digital works of Chad Rea explore the duality of self and the inner struggle to understand our changing world. A creative polymath, Rea produces works at a level of self-inflicted urgency so as to outrun and outlive his own mortality. Drawing upon current political, ethical, and social issues, and utilizing communication techniques mastered as an advertising copywriter, Rea juxtaposes colorful and iconic imagery with cultural insights designed to surprise, inform, entertain, and ultimately get participants to act.
Tell us about the work(s) you have in this exhibition.
19” x 11”
Metal, wood, fabric, ink
What used to be a silly toy prop that makes no sound is now an all-too-common response to a national epidemic that makes no actionable change.
USA! USA! USA!
12” x 48”
Wood, Plastic, Metal
There are a lot of factors that feed the proud Americans’ belief that this is the best country in the world, despite being ranked #1 for something that would suggest otherwise.
What draws you to your chosen medium, what do you love about it?
I am not limited by media and my process can vary. Sometimes I’m interested in thinking it through in my head or on the computer first, but most of the time, I just like pushing paint around and seeing where it leads. With sculpture, I’ll either start with a current event, an idea, or materials I’m interested in using. After that, it’s all about experimenting and seeing how far I can push my perceived limitations while still maintaining my high standards. Often times, I’ll lean on fabricators to help with the execution because I either lack the confidence or patience required to skillfully execute and do the idea justice.
What inspires you to make art?
I’ve been a keen cultural observer and prolific maker my entire life. One feeds the other. Ever fascinated by advertising – even as a teen, I found myself seeking ways to influence large groups of people through entertainment and the art of persuasion. As a copywriter, I created award-winning campaigns for iconic brands, often looking to the art world for inspiration, namely Warhol, Holzer, Krueger, Koons, and Hurst. After several collaborative art projects, my growing need to create positive social impact began to bubble to the surface in my work as I experimented with more subversive ways to inspire positive change.