Charles Hinman (b. 1932), Shaped Paintings

Westwood Gallery NYC

Feb. 28, 2024 - Apr. 26, 2017

262 Bowery
New York, 10012
Phone (212) 925-5700

WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC presents a solo exhibition of New York artist Charles Hinman (b. 1932) as part of its program of exhibitions and events dedicated to artists in the Bowery Arts District, past and present. The exhibition of 40 artworks, spanning from the 1970s until 2014, includes a curated selection of shaped canvases, drawings and sculpture highlighting the artist’s unique process. On view will be artworks such as White Rise, 1976, a minimalist white column consisting of three prisms that emphasizes the force of negative space and shadows. Also on view will be artworks from the Gem series, recently exhibited at the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio, and large scale paintings such as Phoenix, 1989, (8 x 12 ft), a compelling interaction of rectilinear forms constructed with nine canvases, each with a subtle protruding arc creating movement in the work.

Since his first landmark exhibition, Seven New Artists, at the Sidney Janis Gallery, 1964, Charles Hinman’s paintings have explored the boundaries of light, shadow and shape through elaborate three-dimensional wood structures created according to mathematical formulas. The canvases are painted in primary colors and tones to create an interplay between real and elusive forms and structures. Often, the painted angular sides generate the illusion of color in the shadows. The artworks expand beyond the traditional rectangular picture plane into the realm beyond the artwork, exploring the very nature of three-dimensionality. Color interaction is essential to Hinman’s process and the colorful shadows connect him to Light and Space artists like James Turrell. The interplay of hue, light and form energize the canvases as well as the surrounding area with shifting perceptions and reflective color, depending on the vantage point. In Hinman’s words, “My consuming interest in making these paintings is to establish the real sculptural space of the work in context with an illusory space and show how these spaces interact.”

Following the Sidney Janis exhibition in May 1964, Hinman’s first solo exhibition at the Richard Feigen Gallery in November 1964 received renewed critical acclaim and brought more attention from museums and collectors; work was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, the Albright-Knox Gallery, and Nelson Rockefeller. He was included in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s seminal exhibit Young America in 1955, and he continued to exhibit, both nationally and internationally, alongside artists such as Robert Morris, Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Sol Lewitt, and Robert Smithson. In the leading art publication, The New American Abstraction 1950-1970, Claudine Humblet defines Hinman’s work as aimed towards a way to address the challenge of inertia and the force of gravity, sometimes connected with the interpretation of the aesthetics of “primary structures.” In Humblet’s view, Hinman’s work was intended solely to be regenerated within its own parameters: the “three dimensional character of the canvas object”, the “painted illusory or pictorial image,” and the “feeling of the picture plane or the flatness of the wall.”

Born and raised in Syracuse, New York, Hinman received his BFA from Syracuse University in 1955 and went on to study at the Arts Student League of New York. In the early 1960s he shared a studio with James Rosenquist on the historic Coentes Slip in Lower Manhattan. There, he was part of a community of prominent artists of the time including Agnes Martin, Robert Indiana, and Ellsworth Kelly. He moved into a larger studio on the Bowery in 1965 alongside Will Insley and Max Gimblett, where he still resides. During his Bowery years, Hinman’s work has been exhibited and collected by major institutions and collectors around the world. His artwork is included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Denver Art Museum, the Nagaoka Museum in Japan, the Tel Aviv Museum in Israel, among others. He is the recipient of Guggenheim Fellowship and four Pollock-Krasner Foundation grants.

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