CHARLIE SCHAFFER: SCALPEL-LIKE EYES
15 Bateman Street | Soho | London | W1D 3AQ
17.05.23 – 30.05.23 | 10:00am – 7:00pm
BWG Gallery presents Charlie Schaffer: Scalpel-like Eyes by award winning painter Charlie Schaffer...
Exhibiting publicly for the first time in four years, the exhibition is a retrospective of Schaffer’s post-graduation painting. This exhibition marks the first time all aspects of Schaffer’s painting practice have been exhibited as one, bringing paintings and drawings from his portraiture, self-portraiture and Old Masters’ artworks together in one place. including a number of works on loan from private collections.
As phrased by Writer Stephen Baycroft in his exhibition essay, he acknowledges that: ‘Schaffer’s painting practice is compatible with that employed by Lucian Freud. Like Freud, Schaffer uses his scalpel-like eyes to reveal essential truths about the human subjects of his portraits and self-portraits, without vivisecting their facial and bodily surface features; in order to make drawings and paintings in which these features are preserved and used to reveal more than just essential truths about the human subjects in these artworks.’
Throughout the exhibition paintings, we can experience these revelations of human truths, both personal and that of the painter’s subjects, in the progression of Schaffer’s practice over the past eight years. His experimental approach to portraiture sees his style evolve, responding to honest human connection with his sitters, his home and artistic study, his own emotional state and the technical inspiration found during three years spent painting revaluations of Old Master works in the National Gallery.
Notable stylistic variations include Schaffer’s uniquely saturated impasto stroke paintings which mark his time in Margate, including works like Head of Rob and Self-Portrait in Margate. The exhibition contains a carefully curated selection of his subconsciously responsive self-portrait sketches, of which Schaffer has created 2 every morning for many years. These experiments in line, colour, form and composition reveal subconsciously formed emotional and physical truths that have evolved over the years. Schaffer’s delicate line work painting, where his pieces are weaved together from thousands of individual hairline strokes, is beautifully demonstrated in works like Imara and the preceding 2019 Portrait award-winning piece Imara in her Winter Coat. His 12 after Old Master paintings, hung chronologically, show a dissection of the originals’ pictorial form, going beyond the surface in order to create works that at first glance seem more abstract, but are in fact an attempt to draw out the essence and power of each picture.