Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Charles Hinman, Dyad, 2012. Canvas, wood and paint, 104 x 103 x 9 inches, 264.2 x 261.6 x 22.9 cm., Marc Strauss Gallery.

   "Marc Straus presents new paintings by Charles Hinman in his inaugural gallery exhibition, on view from September 5th, 2012. An American pioneer of hard-edged shaped canvases, Charles Hinman’s work received immediate global acclaim in 1964 –5, with work at Sidney Janis Gallery and a one-person exhibition at Richard Feigen Gallery. Major works found permanent homes at MoMA, the Albright-Knox Gallery, and the Rockefeller Collection. He was included in the landmark show Young America at the Whitney Museum in 1965. Also in that year, Henry Geldzahler and Frank Stella included Hinman in the seminal exhibition, Shape and Structure, paired with Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Carl Andre, and Larry Bell. Hinman’s work foreshadowed and influenced an important generation of artists. There have been numerous museum shows in the years since, including at the Everson Museum and three at the Butler Institute of American Art. He has received many awards, including from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and is a current recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Made from canvas and wood, these are paintings, but they are contradictory to the stiff, rectangular picture plane. Frank Stella’s journey towards more detailed wall reliefs (which he famously always referred to as paintings) are presaged by Hinman. 

Charles Hinman, Leaning Twist, 2010. Canvas, wood and paint, 86” X 52” X 15”,  Marc Strauss Gallery.


   His array of sculpted canvases energizes the space on surrounding walls. Various facets of his new white-primed rhomboids and diamonds are painted behind, or in front, in bright, saturated hues creating a fascinating play between literal and illusionistic depth. In some “Gems”, colors are reflected off the wall, thus allowing for the wall and the interstices to be reconsidered as foreground and ground. In others works, “Twists”, bands of bent colors are best viewed from the sides. As we move we perceive the work differently: new colors, new facets, new forms, new shadows, as the work is constantly reinvented. As with all too many artists of his generation, there is less public recognition of his important work at the moment. This exhibition includes work from the past two years. They are testaments to persistence, hard work, and an unflagging curiosity. These are arguably his finest works and are pertinent and timely. Hinman’s formal language persists but the work is even more joyous and unabashedly beautiful."

Charles Hinman,  Tourmalene, 2011. Canvas, wood and paint, 45" X 66" X 9", Marc Strauss Gallery.

   NOTE:  I was surprised and thrilled to read this announcement of Charles Hinman's current New York City gallery show on yesterday.  Hinman's painted constructions were an early art enthusiasm of my parents (please see the beautiful work, Red Scroll, pictured below) and I remember them discussing with delight and rapt interest conversations they had with Chuck Hinman after meeting him at Manhattan's Richard Feigen Gallery in the early 1960s.  Exposure to art and artists like Hinman is what ignited my own lifelong (seemingly; it has been a disturbingly long time: pages have yellowed, hair has grayed) interest in art and artists.

   Public recognition, as anyone who follows art knows, is a peculiar, unpredictable phenomenon.  Fame often happens quickly and proves transient. (Please see: Hymn For The Dudes by Mott The Hoople (link), i.e.,  "You ain't the Nazz; you're just a buzz; some kind of temporary.....".  Like Achilles. )  

   Art history is written slowly, however.  A sprawling, accreting and evolving metropolis, properly surveyed it reveals many worthwhile alleys and passageways --broad avenues and curious, sometimes exquisite, side-streets and mews.  The watchful waiter's open, inquisitive eyes can always discern quality among and within the forests and trees.

   Charles Hinman will be 80 years old this year this year and his new work seems incredibly wise, rigorous and vigorous.

   My father would be 83 today and my mother almost 82.  I would like to think they attended the Marc Straus Gallery opening last week.  I expect they did and that they were looking happy, quite well and were dressed beautifully.

Charles Hinman, Red Scroll, 1965. Canvas, wood and paint, 40" X 38" X 4 ", Richard Feigen Gallery.


  1. I would also like to think they were there. Nell

  2. I believe that they probably were; that's my theory about how things work. I plan on seeing the show on Saturday, if I possibly can, and having an early dinner at a restaurant Caroline, Jane and I like a lot called Le Veau d'Or on E. 60th Street. It's a wonderful time-warp Kennedy administration era bistro-y French place dating from a less self-conscious time. At least that's the plan today. Hinman is a really excellent painter. I think you'd be impressed by his work, which really needs to be seen in person to be appreciated because it's very subtly sculptural and his color sense is so fine. Curtis