the artist stares back

The artworks in the exhibition “Faces,” held at Java Cafe and Gallery through July 30, started with the artist, David Chapuis, wanting to turn the situation around by sizing up people who were examining his work.

“People come to exhibitions, look, and often judge and criticize. My first idea was to keep the ball rolling,” the French artist said in an interview.

But the project soon became much more involved. “In a person’s face there are so many things, such history, if anyone just cares to pay attention,” Chapuis said.

So for about three years, he has been observing people and drawing faces to reflect both the emotions people carry inside and the trace that life has etched on their features.

For this exploration beyond the mask, so to speak, Chapuis has chosen black and white colors on paper and a blend of materials—crayon, ink, aerosol paint and collage—using shadow and light to better express people.

The face drawings in the exhibition are composites of people rather than portraits of one person, fashioned out of geometric or misshapen forms, at times appearing worn away into blankness, with an occasional dab of color.

As the series progressed, Cha­puis’ techniques evolved. The stark faces emerging from a black background in the exhibition are computer-generated artworks, one of the new directions he is now taking, the other one being large-format urban landscapes such as the drawing of a giant face with a piercing gaze at the foot of an outdoor staircase to infinity.

Born in Lyon in France in 1972, Chapuis committed himself to painting at 20. He has been exhi­biting each year since 1998.

He has lived in Morocco and traveled throughout Europe and in Argentina, but had never been to Asia until he came to Cambo­dia in late May to visit a relative and have his first exhibition outside of France at Java cafe. “But this will not be my last

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