There are certain artists who grip the subconscious and dive into temporalities of the forgotten, touching upon the cornerstones of human memory and being. Charles Fine is one such artist. He works human consciousness in a way that connects the corporeal thinking organism with the intimacies of what might be called earth consciousness. Fine attends to the natural world and ancientness in ways that are both thought provoking and transcendent. With an oeuvre that is diverse and far-reaching Fine addresses themes of environment, time, memory, encounter, discovery, decay, and evolution. His art is ever evolving as he works with a variety of media and objects to inspire questions concerning existence and impermanence. While the artist deals with powerful themes, he does so with varying intensity. Rather than privileging a direct and aggressive style, Fine layers, composes, and builds as he illuminates subtle changes and quiet progression.
ACE Gallery presents a thirty-year survey of work by Charles Fine, including drawings, paintings, sculptures, photographs, and video which explore and expand upon the intricacies of the natural world and the effects of human habitation. Fine investigates the interconnectedness of living systems with particular attention given to subjects ranging from population densities, mutations in nature, irrigation patterning, photosynthesis, and the effects of weather and climate.
From his explorations in Central America, Mexico, and the western United States, Fine has amassed and continues to cultivate an unusual assemblage of objects, which have been, and continue to be, a significant source bank for much of the imagery in his paintings, sculptures, photographs, and vitrines.
The artist has gathered mutant pod seeds, ceremonial stone objects, bone implements, and ancient tools amongst numerous other exotic and prosaic natural items from his travels and has transformed these earthly substances into breathtaking works of art. For his Table of Contents series Fine meticulously assembles an assortment of naturally found and re-altered objects into large glass vitrines. Each of these objects were selected by Fine because he felt they possessed an individual poignancy, attained either through nature or through necessity for practical or liturgical applications.
Fine’s heterogeneous groupings are works of art in themselves transforming familiar natural objects into spiritually charged symbols with rich narratives.
From this fascinating reservoir of imagery and inspiration, Fine has created complex metaphysical works of art that are often imbued with animistic or totemic associations. The artist’s approach to painting and sculpture is just as dynamic as the roots of his inspiration. His canvases are reworked over extended periods of time and are composed of translucent layers of oil paint, alkyd resin, and asphaltum. The layered effects of the paint engender a sense that the underlying forms are always in flux—materializing or dematerializing on the surface of the canvas. His panel paintings employ a dramatically different method indicated by his use of encaustic painting, which give them a fertile tactile quality. Fine’s cast bronze sculptures trace their origins both to shapes extracted from the paintings and to his extensive gathering of archaeological relics and found objects.
Moving sinuously from the micro to the macro and back, the artworks in Charles Fine’s in-depth survey offer a dynamic look into the artist’s distinctive cloistered sphere of curiosity and experimentation.
Charles Fine was born in 1951. He attended the Otis Art Institute, California State University, the Brooks Institute of Art, and the University of California. The artist has exhibited at ACE Gallery since 1987.