Charles Gaines – Numbers and Trees: Palm Canyon, Palm Trees Series
Numbers and Trees: Palm Canyon, Palm Trees Series 4, Tree #1 Tataviam, Tree #2 Kitanemuk, Tree #3 Chumash, #4 Acjachemen, 2021
Color aquatint, spitbite aquatint and chine colle with printed acrylic box
62 1/2 x 35 x 3 1/2 in.
A pivotal figure in the field of Conceptual Art, Charles Gaines’ body of work engages formulas and systems that interrogate relationships between the objective and the subjective realms. Using a generative approach to create series of works in a variety of mediums, he has built a bridge between the early conceptual artists of the 1960s and 1970s and subsequent generations of artists pushing the limits of conceptualize today.
Born in 1944 in Charleston, South Carolina, Gaines began his career as a painter, earning his MFA from the School of Art and Design at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1967. In the 1970s, Gaines’ art shifted dramatically in response to what he would later call ‘the awakening.’ Gaines’ epiphany materialized in a series called Regression (1973 – 1974), in which he explored the use of mathematical and numeric systems to create soft, numbered marks in ink on a grid, with each drawing built upon the calculations of the last. This methodical approach would carry the artist into the subsequent decades of his artistic journey.
Images of trees have figured prominently in Gaines’s practice since the mid-1970s, when he first began plotting their forms through a system of numbered grids in the series ‘Walnut Tree Orchard’ (1975 – 2014). His methodical examination continues in the ‘Numbers and Trees’ Plexiglas series, which began in 1986 and has continually evolved to include the work in this online exhibition. Each work in this series was realized by overlaying the forms of trees one at a time and in succession.
Gaines lives and works in Los Angeles. He recently retired from the CalArts School of Art, where he was on faculty for over 30 years and established a fellowship to provide critical scholarship support for Black students in the M.F.A. Art program. He has been the subject of numerous exhibitions in the United States and internationally, and his work is in prominent public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York NY, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York NY, the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York NY and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles CA. Gaines’ work was presented at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and 2015. In 2022, Gaines’ new public art project with Creative Time, ‘Moving Chains,’ launched on Governors Island, New York, along with an operatic performance and series of sculptures in Times Square, before traveling to Ohio. An exhibition of his work is currently on long term view at Dia:Beacon in New York and select works are available now at Galerie Maximillian.
Posted on March 7, 2023 by Galerie Maximillian