February 20 – April 10, 2010
D’Amelio Terras is pleased to present an exhibition of 17 early graphite drawings by revered American master Charles Burchfield (1893-1967). Burchfield is currently the subject of a major exhibition curated by artist Robert Gober at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. The exhibition, Heat Waves in A Swamp: The Paintings of Charles Burchfield, travels to the to The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York from June 24 through September of 2010.
Historically, Burchfield has long been associated with large-scale, fantastical watercolor depictions of the American landscape. This exhibition will focus on the artist’s graphite drawings from 1915 through 1950. More intimate in scale, Burchfield’s drawings suggest a complex state of mind as mundane forms take on sinister characteristics: dark shadows dominate the roofline, windows, and doorways of houses; phantasmagorical shapes and gnarled tree branches embody human like forms thus conveying a deep level of emotional fervor.
By presenting these early drawings in a more contemporary context, we hope to shed new light on the artist’s work. An obsessive collector, organizer, and archivist, Burchfield approached drawing as a means of constantly exploring and searching for form and meaning. Sketches and doodles often catalogue the natural world around him, emerging as the link between the outer world of nature and the inner world of the artist’s emotional life. In a journal entry dated July 11, 1952, Burchfield writes, “The subconscious mind seemed to be in complete control—-and I did unpremeditated things which later turned out to be exactly right.”
Although Burchfield is less known to many contemporary audiences, the artist was the Museum of Modern Art’s first one-person exhibition in 1930. Burchfield’s 1956 retrospective exhibition was organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art and subsequently traveled to six cities. D’Amelio Terras is pleased to acknowledge DC Moore Gallery with their help in facilitating this exhibition.