Nov 6th 2010

Derek Chan’s rigorous paintings, works-on-paper, and durational performances record the minutia of daily life, while combining historical and fictitious narratives to reflect on such themes as spirituality and environmental sustainability. Chan develops his work through a highly personal, meditative practice that most recently involved making daily Sumi ink drawings that give what he calls, “value and meaning to everyday life through painting.”

For the UBS 12 x 12 series, Chan has created an installation with a performative element that developed out of his recent trip to Black Mesa, New Mexico, as well as his research into the resistance of North American Indigenous tribes and the history of U.S. Treaty violations. Black Mesa is the site where the Pueblo Tribe withstood the Spanish conquistadors.

Chan produces paintings, works-on-paper, and an artist’s book based on the daily records of a fictional monk’s travels to the Black Mesa in honor of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. The book is produced in collaboration with Golden Age, and is on view as part of the exhibition.

Other paintings and drawings reference the Alcatraz Indian Occupation of 1969. That year, representatives from many North American tribes occupied Alcatraz Island and offered to purchase it with glass beads and red cloth – the price paid to Native Americans for Manhattan Island. The works in the exhibition examines and compares the histories of struggle and resistance inherent in these two locations.

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