Peter Charles at Touchstone Gallery, New York City (1980s)



 All contemporary artists, whether consciously or not, express something of the tension and fragmentation of our unsettled time. Peter Charles uses heavy-gauge steel wire to bind together disparate elements of smooth steel and rough wood in effective geometric relief and free-standing sculptures.


 It is obvious that Charles, like a modern Atlas, is literally trying to keep the world from falling apart; juggling, arranging, pulling together pieces of life. It can be no accident in this critical age of materialism and obsessive technological concerns (mankind literally seeking an impossible spiritual transcendence through technology) that the artist's work seeks a synthesis of the steel of that technology and the wood of redeeming nature. This is a graphic attempt at coming to terms with the split between things of man and those of God: a melding of Caesar with the divine, if you will, or James Watt with the Sierra Club.

Impossible hybrids?


 In the end, however, it does seem that technology dominates these works as it dominates nearly everything else in our time, including that most dangerous domination of all...that of the human spirit. The twig in "Open Field with Twig" is man-made, not to be found in the artist's West Virginia woods.


Copyright by Don Gray


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