Peter Charles - March 2012
Friday March 2nd - April 11th, 2012
We are pleased to present the exquisite screens, drawings and paintings on paper and steel, by one of Washington DC’s most well established and accomplished artists, Peter Charles. Charles’ sophisticated aesthetic and powerful graphic sensibility dominates the work in this solo exhibition spanning a decade of the artist’s mature work. His large-scale, painted folding screens are inspired by traditional Japanese screen designs and 19th century American still life painting – a fusion of east and west. The artist paints both faces of the screens in a complimentary relationship and employs the mechanics of the antique screens using modern day durable materials. The “verso” sides of the screens are evocatively spare.
Peter Charles is both a painter and a sculptor – his impressive art school training in painting and sculpture reflects his enduring interest in this dual approach. By folding the heavy watercolor paper accordion-like and mounting the drawings on linen, his two dimensional works are given a tangible physical presence. Some of his three dimensional steel sculptures are flattened wall-mounted pieces growing out if his interest in Early American tole ware. He constructs his tray-like forms from rolls of sheet steel – bends, folds, welds, shapes and rusts them before meticulously painting his still-life subjects. The refined language of patterns and images Charles has developed has evolved over time and draws from a rich visual experience with various cultural roots and art historical references. The push-pull of disparate elements within each piece; geometric – organic, natural – man-made, raw – polished, are united in accord in the finished art work.
A D.C. native, Peter Charles grew up with a singularly Washingtonian experience as the Head Page of the Senate. He graduated from the U.S. Capitol Page School before he headed north to receive his B.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design and his Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Yale University. He currently teaches Fine Art at Georgetown University here in D.C. Peter Charles has mounted exhibitions of his work in galleries and museums throughout the United States including the Phillips Collection and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C., the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y., the Huntington Museum, Huntington W.V., the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston Salem, N.C., David Findlay and Ruth Siegel Galleries in New York, N.Y., Zolla-Lieberman Gallery, Chicago and the Koplin Gallery in L.A. Included in the list of his many awards is a Visual Arts Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.