ARTIST STATEMENT

I am investigating structures in which we self-construct identity. Focusing on identity through performance and material objects, my works are ultimately autobiographical fragments.  This fragmentation reinforces the multifaceted nature of identity and malleability of personality.  By constantly shifting to my family and friends, I expand or contract myself emotionally and externally.  Both the historical and current temperature of the times in America influence the aesthetics and messages within the work.  Being political, consumerist driven, and pop-culturelly inclined as external factors on identity.  The artwork expands past the personal narrative into broader concepts and questions of what informs identity.  Identifying personally as a queer orphaned Jewish American, my understanding of home is complex.  Identity starts at home.

The series titled "Chirsmukkah" is driven by the holiday overlap of Christmas and Chanukah (Chrismukkah).  Looking at the way Jewish identity is somewhat divided as separate entities between culture and religion. I am exploring Ashkenazi Jewish assimilation in America and the commodification of the Jewish culture. Although my artistic practice has shifted from performance art to painting, the gestural action of my body remain present within the work. I discuss contemporary jewish identity, iconography, and symbolism, through the lens of queerness identity. I have researched the history of Jews during Christmas with the help from author Joshua Eli Plaut's book “A Kosher Christmas: 'Tis the Season to be Jewish”.  The sensation of the bright colors and color association with the two holiday’s give a sublime kitsch attitude.  Utilizing the two holiday’s as aesthetic reference, the paintings question the traditions, family, and inclusivity of the ‘December Dilemma’.

 

BIOGRAPHY

Charles L. Rice was born in 1989 in Deerfield, IL.  In 2015, received a Master in Studio Fine Art from The School of the Art institute of Chicago.  Rice has been included in various exhibitions in the Chicagoland area and Nationally. Recently, "The Black Velvet Cocoon" was performed in POW!POW!POW!POW! Action & Performance Festival at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, CA.  This year, Rice is a resident of the Midwestern Jewish Artist Lab at Spertus Institute.