Artist in Residence
Charles Munch Residency
The Paine is pleased to welcome Charles Munch as an artist-in-residence with the Paine Art Center and Gardens through spring 2008. Charles is a painter who lives and works in rural southwestern Wisconsin.
The imagery in Charles’s paintings reflects the remote, densely wooded environment surrounding his home near Lone Rock. Using deceptively simple forms and large areas of vibrant, luminous color, he seeks to convey the mysteries of the natural world through his work. He often sets stylized figures within evocative, imaginary landscapes to explore the complex relationships between humans and nature, in particular how humans fit into the natural world. Regarding these themes, Charles has stated:
I live in the hills of southwestern Wisconsin, in the middle of endless woods and unfarmed fields. For many years, my paintings have reflected life in the midst of countless plants and animals. Yet we are steadily losing our companions in the biosphere. Having the impression that wild animals are in a losing battle with their human cousins, I’ve tried to visualize a more balanced world through my paintings. By combining optimism and anger, I am showing the animals as triumphant, or at least holding their own.
The people, animals, and landscape features that make up his compositions are outlined in simple contours of contrasting colors, lending a bold, graphic quality to his work.
Charles’s residency will culminate in an exhibition that opens on January 19 in the Paine’s Main Gallery. The exhibition will feature a series of large-scale paintings, several of which are new works created especially for this project.
Because Charles’s painting process requires that he work from his own studio in Lone Rock, his residency is being documented online through the Paine’s website. Charles will provide periodic journal entries and photographs so we can watch the creative process unfold and the exhibition take shape. Visit often to see Charles’s progress!
Biography of Charles Munch
Charles was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and grew up spending summers at his family’s vacation home in Sturgeon Bay. He showed an early interest in art and the Wisconsin landscape, particularly the light and colors of the Lake Michigan shore. After receiving his artistic training as a realist painter at Reed College, the Portland Museum School, and the New York Studio School, Charles apprenticed with the paintings conservator at The Frick Collection in New York.
For the next 30 years Charles worked as a freelance conservator and artist, painting his surrounding environment—landscapes, still lifes, figures, and interiors—in a controlled, realist style. In the early 1980s Charles transitioned from subjects drawn from close observation to dreamlike imagery derived primarily from his imagination. His style also transformed dramatically at this time from realism to a distinctive, semi-abstract style characterized by bright colors and simplified forms.
Charles’s work has been celebrated in major exhibitions at the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Fairfield Center for Contemporary Art. He is represented by Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee and Grace Chosy Gallery in Madison.