Understanding Abstract Expressionism: New York City

Charles Emerson is a Pacific Northwest painter who creates richly hued abstract paintings that describe ethereal and atmospheric spaces. Embracing color as the foundation of his work, Emerson builds his compositions by applying layers of subtly varied tones that shift with light. His paintings contain terrestrial forms, celestial shapes, and painterly marks, each depicting an emotive microcosm with every varying palette. His paintings are reflections on personal experiences and an engagement with the concept that “nothing ever stays the same.” Emerson uses painting both as a visual diary– recording places, significant moments, and interpersonal interactions- -as well as a part of a spiritual search where one can transcend the here and now. Charles Emerson, originally from Los Angeles, received his Master of Fine Arts from Yale University and his Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of Southern California. He was the recipient of the Fulbright Grant, and he completed his fellowship in Venice, Italy in 1961. Emerson has shown nationally and internationally, including exhibitions in Venice, Italy and Los Angeles, CA. He was the artist-in-residence at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art (Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego) in La Jolla, CA, and at Reed College in Portland, OR. Emerson has resided in the Northwest for more than 30 years, and he teaches color theory and painting at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, WA.
9:30 A.M.-12:30 P.M.
Gage Capitol Hill
Charles Emerson will present an overview of the class the first day and will discuss options available to the students. As an advanced student you should have the basics.

You don’t need anything the first day except for taking notes.

For our first meeting please bring in a completed painting you have recently done so we may begin our analysis and understanding of your work. Please remember that we are all here to learn from each other and there is no one way to approach painting. Each person’s goals will be respected as we strive to develop our individual talents. There is no one way agenda, only a way to make your work logical, consistent and convincing within your interests. Color is difficult to do and even to understand often, and can be a great help as a major factor in any paintings emotional, psychological and intellectual power turning the work into an experiential as well as a referential visual experience. It can support the structure as well as the intended idea or be a detriment to a basic concept. It can define and enhance rather than just decorate a drawing or concept.

I look forward to many different points of view and ideas and all will be treated equally and with respect while looking for ways to further your ambitions.

Abstract Expressionism was born out of the cultural turmoil of the Forties and Fifties, which resulted in a renaissance of all the arts. In this class, we will work through the many ideas and artists that surfaced in New York City during those years through painting exercises, lectures, and independent work. The goal is to see, do, discover, and create experiential rather than referential work in a logical, consistent, and convincing manner. Recommended for advanced students willing to experiment and work independently. Oils, water-based oils, acrylics, and gouache are suitable mediums. A class fee of $25.00 for materials