GRID PAINTINGS

ALAN CHARLTON

Alan Charlton (Sheffield, United Kingdom, 1948) is a minimal painter who starts to working in 1969. In his first year at Royal Academy School of London – after having started his studies at the School of Art in his hometown- he decides to make a pictorial conjunction with non-artistic materials. So, he is going to sawmill and selected square tables with thickness of 4.5 centimetres. Then he went to the drugstore and bought industrial paintings. Each square was a colour: rust red, brown, green, black, white and grey. Charlton want to do painting without any illusion or trompe l’oeil, painting direct and with urban air. Finally, he reduces his variety of colours to one colour: grey, considered in the art world as a non-colour.

Since then, Charlton bases his work parting of modules of 4.5 cm of thickness and separated the spaces of his geometrical pieces with the same measure. The colour grey would be essential element. According to the artist: “use these two constants to discover different ways of conceiving my work. The paintings are not designed using the traditional rectangular frame; they are designed thinking about the space, where they will be showed, so the space is a part of the work”.

In late 2003, Alan Charlton made his first solo exhibition in Spain, in Galería Miguel Marcos (Barcelona and Zaragoza), under the heading: "I want my paintings are: abstract, direct, urban, basic, modest, pure simple, quiet, honest, absolute ". This title was a declaration of intents of the artist. Next year, Charlton showed his work in collective show organized by LACMA of Los Ángeles under the heading “Beyond Geometry”.

On the occasion of first solo show of Charlton in Barcelona headquarters of Galería Miguel Marcos, art critic and founder member of Dau al Set, Arnau Puig, wrote: “paint should not be mean anything but paint. Russian constructivists desecrated the colours. In front of this idea of colour purity, achieved progressively, perhaps the best tone is grey; there fit all sensations and all shades of inner calm. This is the Charlton’s work: no philosophical, no dramatic, no existential, just nothing”.

The minimalist movement born in late fifties in New York as a reaction to Abstract Expressionism with which many points in common –use of geometry, abandoning the metaphor, repetition of motifs, egalitarianism of components, monochrome colours, neutral and industrial surfaces.

The universe of Alan Charlton is composed of geometries and subtle shades of grey. His works do not demand immediate attention of the viewer, invites us to focus on the purity of an act which incorporates pictorial space of their environment, making that "totum" in space facility . If the composer John Cage, inspired the minimalist movement, played with silence to appreciate music, Charlton performs the same feat with his painting. Charlton minimalism does not mean elimination of “pictorial distractions”. On the contrary, it opens a new world of silence, spirituality Cartesian, in which spatial sequences reveal, as if it were an X-ray, interiors, structural intimacy and even the soul of the real pictorial act.