Sage Chandler’s “The FOWL MOOD Show” features extra large oil paintings of humans posed with poultry or other fowl. Chandler uses subtle humor with the titles or narratives of her paintings to examine segments of our politically charged society. Chandler lives a serious existence during the day in a high profile, buttoned-up DC job. Painting big and living large in her free time is a priority: “It’s more fun, you have more room to express yourself.”
Chandler has always loved portraiture, and the interaction of painting something with life. “I realized that I don’t want to paint something unless it has an eyeball.” She began painting the chickens on her farm when she got back into painting while recovering from a severe case of Lyme disease. She eventually had the kitschy idea to combine her two favorite subjects (people and chickens) into one painting, and all the tongue-in-cheek sayings about poultry, like “cock tease” and “chicks,” paved the way for the model pairings and compositions. Her human models in this series often represent segments of “fringe” society and/or present social issues such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, poverty, and religion.
Her paintings are all extra large, some hanging as long as 8 feet or more, providing an immersive and almost interactive experience for the viewer. The works will be hung like tapestries in the gallery. The canvases are stitched to decorative fabrics with other adornments. With creating such large works on canvas, this became a practical way for Chandler to finish and “frame” the works. “The presentation becomes part of the art and it gives the painting a depth of feeling.”
Several of the models will be present at the opening reception on Thursday, June 8, some wearing the costume featured in each painting along with their feathered, poultry models.
As part of her (intended art history) undergraduate degree, Chandler traveled to Germany in 1989 to study as an art history extern at a gallery in Koln. However, a trip to East Berlin at the height of East Germany’s uprising that October changed her trajectory. Instead, she received a BA in International Relations from Allegheny College with focus on East Germany’s dissident movement, and the manner in which opposition leaders used the arts to secretly communicate. Upon moving to Washington nearly two decades ago for a government job in international relations, she began painting at The Art League. Her work has received numerous local and regional awards and has been shown in galleries and exhibits throughout the region. She has been featured twice in Northlight Books “Strokes of Genius” series, and her commissioned works are in collections in the US, Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, and Brazil.