Dom Chastney

I am originally from Norwich and moved up to Yorkshire to study Fine Art at Leeds University. Since graduating in 2004, I have remained in Leeds, working as an artist and supporting myself as a painter/decorator.

I am more interested in creative processes than direct depiction - building imagery through repetition and multi-layered surfaces. Experimentation with different painting/mark making methods and media is at the heart of my art practice – pouring/dripping/slashing paint, colour washes, clean edged shapes, repeated graffiti gestures, printing impressions of bubble wrap etc, embedding/stitching string, thread and mesh into the surface, sanding/sponging to reveal hidden layers, blowing/drawing into wet paint with air from a compressor, creating patterns in spray paint by ‘masking’ the canvas with washers, coins, dry pasta, hand cut plaster/acetate shapes, fabrics, wire/string etc.

Some of my paintings could be internalised worlds, recalling microscopic/molecular/anatomical or planetary imagery. Others underwater/landscapes, aerial perspectives, maps, old palimpsest manuscripts or figurative forms.


Spray Paint Pattern Series

The dots and various shapes in this series are created by masking the canvas from spray paint – patterns derived from grids, washers, coins, nuts, dry pasta/pulses, hand cut plaster/acetate shapes, seeds, fabrics, wire/string, lollipop sticks etc. These are combined with other methods of painting/mark making - lines, drips, flicks, colour washes, clean edged shapes, gestural swipes, dry brushing, thread and mesh imbedded into the paint surface, sanding/sponging to reveal hidden layers, blowing/drawing into wet paint with air from a compressor.

Strange Fruit (123high x 143cm) Acrylic, spray paint and powder pigment paint on canvas “Strange Fruit (123high x 143cm) Acrylic, spray paint and powder pigment paint on canvas”

The Title 'Strange Fruit' makes reference the song performed by Billie Holiday and the photograph of the 1930 lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, who were hung from the bow of a tree. It was not my intention to make a work about this but as the painting developed from a composition of two hills and a suspended moon, the imagery - the pointy Klan hood shape, the cross, the predominance of red, yellow and black- colours of blood, fire and death lead me to this narrative.

Protector? (143 x 124cm) “Protector? (143 x 124cm) ”

The central form could be a figure/woman which is surrounded by another dark figurative shape. The title 'Protector?' refers to the ambiguousness of this enclosing silhouette- does it offer a protective layer or does it loom behind with menace?
The canvas is stitched with meshing and cotton thread, criss-crossing and forming various polygons - a reference to underlying molecular structures.

De-railed (152 x 92 cm) “De-railed (152 x 92 cm)”

This painting is like an aerial perspective - the central grid that cuts vertically could be concertinaed train carriages after a derailment.

Eclipse 143 x 87cm “Eclipse 143 x 87cm”

The sphere could be a sun or perhaps a cell/egg; the pointed vertical a megalith or the spike of an artificial insemination syringe.

Projector 160 x 110 cm “Projector 160 x 110 cm”

This painting is about the nature of light. The composition with its dots and beams reference famous light experiments - Newton's prism diffraction and the 'double slit' that shows the duality of light being both a particle and a wave.

Warp curve 143 x 123 cm “Warp curve 143 x 123 cm”

Warp Curve has a number of looser under layers where I pour paint and move it round the surface to make drip patterns. Over this I use spray paint and spaghetti as a stencil to create the illusion of a bending surface space, curving toward the top an bottom edges.

Cell 100 x 100cm “Cell 100 x 100cm”

This sphere is a cell and the shapes within reference the division of chromosomes.

Grid History 143 x 124cm “Grid History 143 x 124cm”

I primarily used spray paint and gutter guards for a stencil to generate overlaying grid patterns.' Grid history' alludes to the way the painting grew over time. I want to invite the viewer to identify and decipher the layers. This painting has a strong connection to landscape, particularly viewed from the air, the structure and patterns like the networks of a cityscape.

Pattern Scape (183 x 183) “Pattern Scape (183 x 183)”

The repeated rows of dots are made by painting then printing the impression of bubble wrap. It's life started as a cotton dust sheet on the floor of my studio. It got 'soiled and spattered' while I worked on other things; walked on it, scuffing paint, testing colours, doodling, cleaning my brushes on it. I cut it up and re-stitched and stretched it(one of the joints can be clearly seen as a top third horizon line) before reworking it with other marks and gestures in spray and other paint.
The horizontal areas could recall the structure of a landscape.

Searching Light (183 x 183 cm) “Searching Light (183 x 183 cm)”

Although this is predominantly abstract, I carried in my thoughts the idea of a religious iconography; beams of light radiating out from some source at the top - Perhaps like the light in Rembrandt's etching 'Christ on a Cross between two thieves' or the duel beam in Blake's 'Creation'.

Pour, Drip etc

These are paintings primarily made by pouring liquid paint (acrylic, powder pigment paint, oil paint) and moving the canvas; elevating and rotating it to create drip patterns. Large, un-stretched, un-primed pieces of canvas are laid on the floor- I walk over them, scuffing/rubbing paint, charcoal and pastels into the surface. I work with repeated gestures and marks- dots and dabs, slashes, spatters and swipes, some derived from letters or symbols. I might print paint using bubble wrap and other textured surfaces.

Drip and Sratch “Drip and Sratch”

This is a painting made with dripping paint patterns and scratched wavy lines digitally modified

Tangled Red and Blue  (3m high x 2m)  “Tangled Red and Blue (3m high x 2m) ”

This is a large sheet of raw un- primed canvas primarily painted on the floor. I used strips of gaffer tape to mask the canvas to create a criss-crossing - this could resemble the trunks and branches of trees or some crystalline structure.

Palimpsest (280 x 200cm) “Palimpsest (280 x 200cm)”

This started life as a cotton bed sheet that I used as a dust sheet at work and the studio floor. I would spray paint across the surface, dark tones in one direction, light tones in the opposite. This creates an illusion of surface relief, accentuating the creases and folds of the surface with an 'shadow/highlight' effect. I then iron the sheet flat. I think it looks like a stretched animal skin or perhaps an old manuscript/map.