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It could’ve been an accident, but it was a great choice to celebrate the opening of Srijon Chowdhury’s Same Old Song during Halloween weekend. The new work at the Frye is dripping in blood. In it, you’ll find a crucified Jesus along a giant nose, a dead chicken (“She was a good chicken, though,” Chowdhury told us), a gory mouth with demons swirling around it, and—well, we won’t spoil everything.
Let’s just paint the scene: As you enter the space, you’ll first run into Chowdhury’s 16-foot-long painting Pale Rider (2019), featuring a horsewoman of the apocalypse bolting through a field of flowers. In the foreground, there’s a metal gate made up of words from the William Blake poem “A Divine Image,” in sigil form. It’s an impressive painting, but the show only gets meatier. Turn the corner, and there’s that metal gate come to life as an epic sculpture. Walk through that gate, and you get to the show’s main room: six brand new paintings, all red, all spooky and grand with symbolism. I wasn’t expecting it to be so fun and bloody, like a good giallo.
This is the first solo museum exhibition for Chowdhury, who lives and works in Portland. It’s an exciting, bold debut. The mix of classical inspiration (Rodin, Bosch) with a contemporary point of view feels at home at the Frye, which is also showcasing Door to the Atmosphere, a nice companion group show curated by Chowdhury and Frye’s Amanda Donnan. With Frye’s free entry, why not go visit the shows a few times—or make it a date?
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📸: Srijon Chowdhury. Eye (Morning Glory), 2022. Oil on linen. Photo: Adam Kubota