Based in New Jersey, in the Philadelphia region, Charles Newman had my attention immediately with his portrayal of chairs on rooftops in the city (images above, top), an image that so strongly reminds me of my top-floor Walnut street apartment when I was an art student it’s uncanny.
Newman’s appeal goes much farther for me that that, of course; his brusque, textural paint application, muted value relationships and carefully controlled color give his work a kind of ghostly pull. Everything, even interiors, seems atmospheric. In contrast to so many artists whose work is shouting for attention, Newman’s paintings whisper, drawing you closer, inviting you in with intrigue and suggestion.
His compositions are strongly geometric, large shapes and value masses predominate, and light, even bright daylight, seems tamed and controlled in service of the composition.
Newman works from life, but his immediacy seems to act through a sophisticated filter of painterly choice, registering the most important elements and indicating them with deft reduction of the inessential.
On his own website, be aware that there is a third level to the Portfolio drop-down navigation that is easy to miss. The Plein Air section has several sub-sections, and it’s certainly worth coming back and investigating each.
His work will be on display in a solo show titled “Charles Newman – New Paintings” at the F.A.N. Gallery, here in Philadelphia, until June 27, 2015.
There is an interview with the artist on the F.A.N. Gallery blog.