Chris Vena's work consists of painting supplemented by print, video and photography documenting the experience of individuals and groups engaged in acts of resistance, including Vena's own experience among them. Working as an artist rather than a journalist, Vena felt free to interpret the material he collected from his own unique perspective. The results were something more akin to a biopic, a reenactment, or a docudrama than strict documentary - operating like the ‘lie that makes us realize the truth’ as Picasso once said.
However, recent shifts in public awareness and the pandemic have forced Vena to reevaluate his work and readjust his studio practice to suit the necessities of the present. Most recently Vena has turned my focus towards his own lived experience, which unfortunately and paradoxically might be very common. Loss, isolation, and financial insecurity at this level have not been seen in this country in 100 years. Vena's most recent works reflect the experience of these events through a series of small self-portraits based on Vena's lived reality and botanical paintings that express a parallel longing for reconnection with wild nature.