Charles Searles: In Motion
“My work hangs on the wall, projects off the wall, with curved surfaces and a lot of overlapping curved planes. I’m really also conscious of the space that moves through and around the sculpture; my work tends to activate the whole space that it occupies.”
- Charles Searles, 1992
Underlying impulses of continual movement and transformation, both stylistic and conceptual, permeate the large-scale paintings and sculptures of Philadelphia native Charles Searles (1937-2004). The inherent energy and activity of Searles’ urban surroundings; his stylistic progression from naturalism toward gesture and abstraction; the nuances of his thinking and working processes; and his transitions among media–from drawing to painting and sculpture, as well as in the combination of approaches–find expression in the palpable rhythms of music and dance, and the vivid colors and lively patterns inspired by the cultural traditions of Searles’ African heritage. This studied investigation of significant aspects of Searles’ life and work describes the kinetic spark in the artist’s hand and mind that stimulated the conception, execution, and production of his work throughout his career.
Curated by MA/PhD student Louise Feder, MEd student Alexander Cohn, and
MA students Alicia Bonilla-Puig, Elise Houck, Rachel McCay, Nicole Restaino, William Schwaller, and James Short in Prof. Susanna Gold’s Fall 2012 Art History graduate seminar.
Beautifully illustrated exhibition catalogs are available.
Complementary exhibitions of Searles’ work at local institutions include Charles Searles: The Mask of Abstraction at the La Salle University Art Museum,
Charles Searles: A Focus on the Figure at the Woodmere Art Museum, and
New Depths 1989 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Generously supported by the Temple University Commission on the Arts; Department of Art History, Tyler School of Art; Tyler Student Life General Activities Fund ;Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection; Department of Dance, Boyer College of Music & Dance; Faculty Senate Lectures & Forums Committee; Tyler Alumni Association; Department of African American Studies; Honor’s Program, and a grant from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its 2013 Knight Arts Challenge.
We are actively seeking funds to match the Knight Arts Challenge Grant. To contrinbute to our efforts to distribute exhibition catalogs to libraries and schools in order to preserve the legacy of Charles Searles, please contact: