Pauletta Chanco


Pauletta Chanco’s current work is about cultivating the relationship between painting and spiritual practice. In the Buddhist teachings that inspire her, there is a beautiful metaphor about clearing the path by sweeping the leaves off of it. Hence, the abstracted leaf forms in her work, which are painted and then painted away. Layered veils of color allude to movement between the sacred and profane, the profound and the concrete, in both areas of practice. Circles remind us of the cyclical nature of life. Areas of darkness speak to making our way through challenging interior landscapes in order to arrive at moments of insight, which is represented by the areas of light coming through in her art.

In a completed new abstract series called “Aprés Fragonard,” Pauletta was inspired by a recent trip to Paris. She made multiple visits to the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay to see French Rococo painter and printmaker Jean Honoré Fragonard. It was at the d’Orsay where she viewed a special Fragonard exhibition of bourgeois men having carnal affairs with their maids and domestic help.

In Paulette’s own words, “What I love about Fragonard is that despite total rejection by the art world (salon, Academie, etc.) in Paris, he went to Italy and studied under the Baroque masters. From them, he learned their flamboyant brushwork and exaggerated poses. I looked at his portraits a lot in the Louvre and really love his dynamic brushstrokes, and noted that from the head to the torso of these portraits were very finished and resolved visual descriptions of the time, fashion, and personalities. Then, below the torso were very unfinished, oil sketched-like qualities, yet they harmonized with the finished areas of the portrait overall. I wanted to incorporate these two aspects of his way of painting in my work.”