Tag Archives: charles sheeler

Modern Art Monday Presents: Charles Sheeler, Incantation

incantation by charles sheeler photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Charles Sheeler (18831965) saw the modern equivalent of the imposing religious architecture of the past in the expansive, streamlined masses of factory buildings and refineries. Incantation (1946), whose very title sounds like a spiritual evocation, is a fragmentary view of a continuous-flow oil production plant. Here, Sheeler reduced the architectural forms to a more two-dimensional design in which shadows play as weighty a role as the metal tanks and pipes. The lack of a human presents suggest the degree to which these vast plants had come to be viewed as nearly autonomous forces.

Photographed in the Brooklyn Museum.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Charles Sheeler, Americana

charles sheeler americana photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Between 1926 and 1934, Charles Sheeler produced seven paintings and several photographs of the interior of his home in South Salem, New York. Prominently featured in all of them is his collection of early American furnishings.  Although he rendered each object with perfectionist clarity. he treated the composition as an abstract design, enlivened by his unusual choice of perspective as exampled in this piece, Americana (1931).

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Charles Sheeler, The Artist Looks at Nature

the artist looks at nature photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Contrary to its title, this intriguing and enigmatic self-portrait, The Artist Looks at Nature (1943),  shows the artist ignoring the brightly lit landscape in front of him. Nature, as depicted here, is surreal, with inexplicable discrepancies of scale and perspective. The fields suggest the terrain around Sheeler’s Connecticut home, while the massive walls recall Hoover Dam, which the artist photographed in 1939. In the painting, Sheeler works intently on a monochromatic drawing of an antiquated stove, which is based on a photograph he took in 1917. Yet despite these deliberate references to his own work, the painting’s meaning is ambiguous. Perhaps Sheeler wished to evoke the many vistas open to an artist, the literal and figurative landscapes of the mind.

Photographed in the Art Institute, Chicago.