c.1986/92 Vertical Horizons
Vertical Horizons: In the late 1980’s, economic pressure caused a critical downsizing for the artist in both scale, and materials. It seemed a bolt of lightning might jolt this Frankensteinian reality toward a creative epiphany. The artist was evaluating the endurance of formalist concerns beyond the specific cultural moment. He always trusted in the longevity of the greatness of Barnett Newman. Charles posited that Newman was establishing the here and now. He interpreted Newman’s vertical “zips”, bars, dividers as un-crossable horizons. Newman, like Frankenthaler, couldn’t get free from landscape “space”. After 2 or 3 literal depictions of the above mentioned bolt of lightning (see the first 3 images below), the Vertical Horizons paintings came to be. Initially cheaply on wood slats and canvas wrapped boards, eventually on canvas. Now we were interminably locked IN the horizon, seeking ways out. In deliberate opposition to previous work, the paint/process of these pieces is super thin washes and glazes, alternating latex housepaint then oil glazes (see 2 detail images below). The thin “wetness” of the paint allowed the actual canvas nubs to effect the light. This process recquired the work be done flat. All pieces are entirely freehanded without preliminary sketches, rulers, tape, etc.. The artist straddled the canvases. A meditative discipline was the process.
The first image block below shows the concept, materials, and technique genesis. The second block are all paintings on canvas.