About Charles Warter

Aged fifteen Charles decided there was only ONE way to become an artist: Just start! From this very moment he drew from nature at his own initiative. Materials found in the woods, like branches, leaves, but also objects from daily life, buildings and so on. Apart from these excercises he made expressionistic works based on own images (mind flashes, half-sleep, dreams). In the beginning only with pencil, crayon, charcoal, pen and ink and gouache. Studying biology at the Free University in Amsterdam, was an excuse to draw plants and animals - including skeletons and skulls - in a very detailed way. "The Stedelijk" was a shock at first sight (is this art?) but meant a relief as well (so this is art!). Especially the works of Elsworth Kelly and Edward Kienholz impressed Charles deeply.

Experiments with oil-paint were frustrating. Only after a lot of reading about the theory of colors, composition and looking carefully at the masters a break-through came: colors were tamed. Charles suspended his studies for a while and got a job in Zwolle. Leasure time was available to join a group of artists ("Artibron"). Portraits were the main subject. Stimulating contacts with older artists and younger people like Charles himself. After a while Charles moved to Groningen to study again: biochemistry. He never left art however, but Charles was a bit of a fanatic and took the theories of the "Bauhaus" (especially Itten) too seriously. Aged twenty three he disapproved everything he made, as it was not up to the Bauhaus standards. After some time without any drawing or painting, he took the charcoal and tried again. During a hike througout the Netherlands, a series of aquarelles, and pen-drawings after observations of nature were made. Only then Charles felt like he was enough of a craftsman and was allowed to experiment. He started to use other techniques and crossed the border to sculpting, that is working in three dimensions including performance. He never stopped reading and visiting art-galleries. A vast area being completely adrift and apart from the citizens "reality" - a mere fact to be accepted.

Apart from the studies there was time left to write and paint. Unfortunately the more expressionistic works were hardly liked by people in the neighbourhood. Besides, the paintings were small and therefore not very impressive. The realistic collection however, was appreciated by the same people - one time a visitor said something like: "I did not know you were able to make real works of art. I thought you just fooled around...." The ongoing lack of understanding caused Charles to destroy the greater part of the non-naturalistic design (of course not paintings already given away.) After a short while, Charles focussed on "abstration". Reality was simplified and reduced to simple and geometrical structures. Cryptic titles presented the relation with the reality from wich the painting was derived ( like "Picking flowers during spring" or "After the rain" )

Aged forty, Charles found himself on an dead end. A one year course at the academy of arts was exactly what he needed: good teachers, removing obstructions and freeing the mind from prejudice, especially too much self-censorship. Talking about each others works of art, asking questions. Focussing on the process instead of the product. Only trying and asking oneself questions. For the first time no shame about being "self-taught" (was he still?). Charles told his teacher he would like to make big paintings. So his teacher simply told him to start and create big paintings: "Take a big, cheap brush, a large of canvas and go for it" There was plenty of opportunity for some experiments in three dimensions. Until then skills with hammer, saw and drill were useful for doing some home-improvement. Suddenly it had become a way of making works of art. From then Charles was trying to communicate ideas and images. Partially the same simplified images from the past, but also human interaction, the way society works, especially at the office, the way people think and act, translated into two or three dimensions. The biology part of biochemistry giving him a firm basis to observe behaviour. Still trying to stop himself from rigidity and mathematics, Charles uses complex stochastic processed (chance elements, like dices). Not immediate, like Pollock, but by disturbing plans and structures by computer aided influences - making things imperfect by letting nature in.

Charles Warter, 2020