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Charles Burwell at Bridgette Mayer – check out our review of his last show and go see the new one


From the artblog vault, here is my review of Charles Burwell’s 2010 exhibit at Bridgette Mayer Gallery. This month, Burwell has a solo show, Everything is a Series of Adjustments, at Bridgette Mayer (up to Nov. 30, 2012). Check it out, and also read the great backgrounder piece by A.M. Weaver in yesterday’s Inquirer.

Burwell NewReveal 2012 acryliconcanvas 66x84inches9
Charles Burwell, “New Reveal,” 2012, acrylic on canvas, 66 x 84 inches. Photo courtesy gallery website

Charles Burwell’s colorful, heavily-patterned abstract paintings are all about relationships.  What types of relationships, you ask?  While not clearly spelled out, we’re talking every kind, including interpersonal, historical, biological, technological and formal artistic relationships — all writ large in the interplay between color and shape, with hard-edged lines and biomorphic forms circled by sweeping lasso-like arcs. Burwell’s oil paintings are dreamy and meditative and built up layer by layer freehand and with stencils and templates.   Both psychedelic and harmonious, the works reveal and revel in their depths, which suggest never-ending bright-hued conversations – not arguments – where passages echo and answer like married couples finishing each other’s sentences.  As with jazz improvisation, there are underlying rhythms that ground the works (the stripes, the repeat cloverleaf shapes) and risky solo moments with swooping lines or large passages demanding attention.  From cool mint green to acid yellow-ochre, Burwell’s colors surprise.

Bridgette Mayer Gallery, 709 Walnut St.  215 413 8893

This review initially appeared on artblog Nov. 3, 2010.