Cody Critcheloe’s Chips

Review by Molly Cranston

The TV whirs endlessly in the background as Cody Critcheloe gathers his resources, obsessions, and film stills, for “Chips,” his new collection of paintings on view at The Gallery @. Critcheloe’s oil paintings are like tableaux for a camp acid-horror film, or a hectic docu-series of LA’s celebrity surreality, glowing through a smoky mist of shared screens and gossip. 

Musician, filmmaker and painter, Critcheloe, a.k.a SSION, is an audiovisual polymath with a punk rock background and deep, tangible fandom for pop culture. As in his film and directorial work, Critcheloe concentrates on light masterfully, sensitively, as a subject in itself. Bright slashes of light disturb scenes, ranging in tone from rich studies of umber chiaroscuro to abstracted glares of platinum blonde hair and the aura of metaphysical presence. Edges tremble in static technicolour, defeated by shards of shadow, drifting into a dreamland haze. Flecks, strips and lowlights of Critcheloe’s favourite VHS blue thread through, framing his mythic plethora of references – from the Book of Judith to Seinfield. The paintings themselves are hung like TV’s stacked up at the department store. 

Critcheloe paints his assembly of rockstar subjects, Yves Tumour, King Princess and Daniel DiCriscio to name a few, in poses that are both arrestingly relaxed and theatrically staged. With a nuanced understanding of the power of celebrity image, Critcheloe conjures and splices their surroundings, conceding his painters’ power. In “Chips,” Critcheloe gently derails the cult of celebrity from its lofty heights, revelling in its absurdity, and darkness. Yet “Chips” also nurtures a more intimate motive, simply spending time painting those that he loves, admires and misses. “Chips” is on view in LA at The Gallery @ until Sept. 14th.

That ‘deer in headlights’ scenario that people used to talk about when discussing strippers in the early 2000s., 2020
Acrylic on canvas
30 × 24 inches

installation view

Lazy Jack in The Ambitious Wig., 2020 Acrylic on canvas
24 × 30 inches

Some Basic Instincts (Pt. 1), 2020 Acrylic on canvas
40 × 30 inches

Cherry Groan Brick Oven Pizza for 2, 2020 Acrylic on canvas
36 × 24 inches

Yves for Trash & Vaudeville (Rock On Jimmy), 2020 Acrylic on canvas
14 × 8 inches

Spencer’s Gifts (pt. 1), 2020
Acrylic on canvas
23 1/2 × 20 inches

Portrait of Singer to be hung at Latte Land and looked at while on acid., 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 40 × 30 inches