Charles Burchfield

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Recently ran into Charles Burchfield in a review of a show curated by Robert Gober, also an artist.  I'm intrigued not only by his paintings, which convey his conviction that the ordinary is full of meaning and spirit (a conviction I share), but also his doodles, which he used to develop his visual "vocabulary" and for inspiration. 


What I find particularly compelling in his body of work are a series of drawings he called "conventions for abstract thought" which are visual metaphors for emotional states and spiritual yearnings.  He claimed that they were based on actual visual experiences, and were not abstract in the sense the word was used later (these drawings were done in 1917).  You certainly don't need me to tell you what this one is about…


Yes, fear!  When will someone do research on whether our response to abstract forms carries over between individuals, groups, and cultures? 

Here's an example of one of his large watercolors.

The luminous tree

It reminds me of when I was a kid walking to school.  I would look up at the leaves of the trees and pretend that the gleams of light were fairies…!


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