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Charles Miesmer
Paper Trail 4

2014

$15,000

About

Charlie Miesmer began painting in the open air during the summers in Nantucket. Using a pad of Arches paper as an easel and working out of the back of his pickup truck, the quietude and peace he found in the landscape of sea grass, dunes and the ocean resulted in a series of intimately scaled and spontaneously sketched oil pastels. These found an immediate and receptive audience, and quickly led to the realization that he needed more space, and needed to work bigger. Before long he built a studio at his home in Southport, and started a period of more serious work. One day soon after this his daughter, Lily, spilled paint on the pages of a textbook. The visual result of this accident fascinated him, the reveal of words behind layers of color, and he began experimenting with it. This "experiment" has lasted for 15 years, in which individual pages from books have been painted, stained, sanded, bleached and transformed well past the intent of their original publishers and then arranged in either grid-like or random patterns on canvas, creating a surface of shifting and atmospheric fields of color. This technique is illustrated in Seawater 1, Coatue 2, and Anguilla 1, which present simplified views of land, sea, and sky yet still retain the traditional divisions of space and a clear horizon line. In contrast, Three Field Collage #2 and Meade's Bay reveal a greater abstraction of the landscape and further blurring of the natural divisions of space. An even greater simplification of this is achieved in Untitled of 2013 in which large swathes of paper have been ripped, painted, sanded and assembled. This arresting composition and striking palette recall the Ocean Park series of Richard Diebenkorn. Aside from landscapes and abstractions, Charlie has also worked on a series of paintings which reveal his fascination with words and the tricks they can play on the human eye. In pieces like Interview, words and phrases repeated multiple times in different directions make up the entire composition and communicate something very different than the words themselves, becoming hypnotic and oddly funny. In other works, like Adieu to the Pleasures and Cold Call 2, a more limited use of text is incorporated into larger fields of color formed by strips of paper which Miesmer again tears, paints and sands to achieve specific tonalities and textures. While there is no doubt that this aspect of his work has been stimulated by his experiences in advertising, it has also gone well beyond that, and will continue to do so.

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Located in Fairfield, CT
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