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Chuck Webster | Spells

July 7 – August 16, 2021
Opening Reception: Wednesday, July 7, 2021, 6-8pm
Planthouse is pleased to present Spells by Chuck Webster.

View the online Spells exhibition checklist here.


My art practice rests on drawing. I draw all the time, in flurries, on the train, at night, and in long stretches of hundreds of finished, composed drawings. Drawings are the source of the work, a way to navigate through art and life. Three years ago, I culled a vast pile of unfinished and unworthy drawings, cutting up and collaging them to make new work. This somehow preserved the circumstances and impulse of their making. I wanted them to live again to tell another tale. 

As I collage together these things made twenty years and a thousand miles apart, they turn into a history of thought, and emotion, a cornucopia of small instances of feeling and action, together in one picture. It is the refusal and compression of time that rarely occurs in art.

I have used collaged drawings in papermaking by collaging them into wet sheets of pulp, encaustic panel painting with wax, and using them as part of large oil paintings on canvas and panel. When presented with the opportunity to make a series of prints with Andrew Mockler at Jungle Press, I thought that these collages would work well with watercolor monoprints, where the moment of chance, gesture and color is preserved by the pressure of the press, expressing the same spontaneity I felt when collaging drawings. 

The narrative of a wizard figure casting a spell over the landscape is like an artist trying to hold a picture together; there are many elements, and we have to keep them all in formation as the painting gets made. Some pictures are acceptable, and we can feel good about them. All the others go back into the hopper of the mind or the flat-file drawer, to be re-imagined later on.

Webster is a recipient of the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was a 2018 National Academy Affiliated Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. His work is included in numerous private and public collections, including those of the Baltimore Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

7 monoprints printed at Jungle Press, Brooklyn, NY.

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