Virtues and Signals
Solo exhibition by
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Everybody loves a good tea. And while you’re shitscrolling on your phone, you can’t help but turn into a lawyer, a comedian, and a godsend advisor. After all, who doesn’t enjoy feeling good about themselves by feeding the social consciousness while doing so little? All it takes is a generous serving of moral hypocrisy, a dash of wit, and a hint of sense of humor. Then just press “post”.
Chalk Zaldivar’s “Virtues and Signals” focuses on this very idea of virtue signaling. This act unlocks a lure that feels very instinctive as the orbit of controversy pulls everybody—their attention piqued by lies, scandals, political issues, and social shenanigans. Staying true to his schtick, Zaldivar’s paintings reveal the natural obsession behind virtue signaling that comes from a place of misguided morality. How society often carries the assumption of notoriety and moral transgressions and for one thing, the temptation and pleasure of moralizing about other people’s indiscretions let us off the hook for the sins we’ve committed or maybe contemplated committing.
At once endearing, the inimitable and meticulously rendered paintings of Zaldivar don’t intend to string you along. He simplifies an already straightforward classification noting that traditionally, portraiture aims to capture the essential character of the subjects through a faithful reproduction of society’s likeness, and in this show, it’s all about shattering and then reedifying the duplicity of virtue signaling as a costless action and how its more nuanced than the picture painted by conventional wisdom and political rhetoric.
– Angela Gaddi