Chris Vance’s ‘Moderate Restraint’5/3/2023
Chris Vance is Des Moines’ artist. His murals are seen all over town. His paintings are so popular that even before his new show, “Moderate Restraint” at Moberg Gallery, opened, more than 30 new works had been sold. “That’s confusing because his collectors buy several paintings at the same time. Probably only 12 sales accounted for over 30 works,” explained gallery owner TJ Moberg. No one else in Iowa commands such respect.
Vance is an indefatigable painter. He has to be to keep up with demand and his personal standard.
“I could spend five hours or 50 hours on a painting, but I know it’s going to be a lot better if I spend 50 hours on it. So I do.”
To help with all that, his son Colton now collaborates, shares a studio, and is featured in “Moderate Restraint.” This is great fun for those of us who have followed Vance since he broke away from “Sticks” to forge a personal career. We have watched his children grow up in his paintings.
Moberg archivist Mikaela Mullin explains the new show best. “Just in time for spring, Vance has created Euclidian bouquets that need no water and last forever. These geometric floral paintings and mixed media works not only explode in true Vancian fashion, but they bloom intelligently into the space of our eye and its line of sight, leading us to acknowledge relationships and how our life is about exchange and change.”
I think a good part of Vance’s wild popularity is that he incorporates parenting in his painting. For that reason, his most powerful new piece is the self-portrait “Empty Nest.” Dad with a crown and a can of beer, jeans rolled up, smiling through his tears, as a little bluebird fledges from his hand.
“It’s both goofy and poignant, which is Vance’s forte, of course,” Mullin explained.
“Moderate Restraint” shows through Saturday, May 6.
Moberg now represents Mr. Brainwash. Two of his works were shown during the Chris Vance exhibition. This is a huge deal. Mr. Brainwash, nee Thierry Guetta, is a French-born, Los Angeles-based street artist on the level of Basquiat. According to the 2010 Banksy-directed film “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” Guetta was owner of a used clothing store and amateur videographer who filmed street artists through the 2000s and became an artist in his own right in a matter of weeks after an off-hand suggestion from Banksy. He has designed album covers for Madonna and worked with many musicians, including Michael Jackson, Wyclef Jean, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He has taken over spaces for installation at the Opera Gallery London and at Art Basel Miami; showed during 2012 Olympics in London; and was part of Saatchi Gallery Art Wars. He does not lend paintings on consignment but made an exception for Moberg, because he is as whimsical as a Chris Vance painting. Like I said, a huge deal.
Following Vance at Moberg will be Jason Woodside. He has been making exterior walls all over the world that amazed viewers for years. His collaborative projects and commissions include high fashion and street brands, boutiques, galleries and museums, such as Colette in Paris, Adidas, Faberge and Obey Clothing, as well as the New Museum in NYC, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Jeffrey Deitch.
Olson Larson Galleries is still in limbo. They were hoping to open the doors to their new permanent home in May, but it looks like mid-June now. Follow “From the Food Dude” on Daily Umbrella for the news when it becomes known. It’s free. https://www.thedailyumbrella.com/subscribe
The Des Moines Art Center is leading a day trip to Iowa City May 6. A docent-led tour of the Stanley Museum of Art and lunch are included. Register now https://desmoinesartcenter.org/event/member-day-trip-travel-opportunity-iowa-city. n