After decades of creating art for private and corporate collections out of his Jamesport Long Island studio, artist Charles Wildbank has shifted toward a greater exposure of his art into public spaces. These spaces range from hotel, corporate or hospital lobbies, yoga and fitness studios, restaurants, conference rooms, atriums, parks, cultural centers, terminals, and real estate stagings whichever can accommodate the large scale he offers. He hopes to accommodate large cities outside New York such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, DC, and Miami over the next few years.
On Friday, May 25, Artist Charles Bourke Wildbank will open a major exhibition in the spacious Barn Gallery of Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport in the North Fork, WILDBANK 35 Years of Art in the East End. The show is scheduled to run through June 24, 2012.
Charles Wildbank’s connection to Long Island’s East End dates to the late 1970s, when he first visited Westhampton Beach, and he has continued to paint in the area ever since. His connection to the countryside and its beaches goes back to his roots in the Manhasset Bay and Roslyn Harbor areas as well as the lakes of Maine. Early in his career Wildbank completed his major in painting and photography at Pratt Institute, using a camera as a “sketchbook” for his paintings and portraits. Deaf since birth, unable to speak throughout much of his youth, Charles’ talent was discovered through his copious pencil sketches rendered for the purpose of communicating his requests for anything he wanted: candy, lost objects, places to visit, animal pets, etc..
Subsequently, Wildbank gained a reputation as a portrait artist through his supportive family and their friends. This solo exhibition will reveal new works in the context of his early work. With 35 years of painting in the East End, Wildbank is arguably one of the most beloved and possibly the most collected artists in the Hamptons. Early works include a large double portrait of David Hockney, plus a surprise extra, an unearthed watercolor portrait of his grandfather painted at the age of 15.
New paintings include magnificently detailed photorealistic portraits presenting larger than life visages of the humanity he silently observes in the world surrounding him; a startlingly giant sleeping infant, a dreadlocked farmer looking beyond himself and the canvas, a young girl attempting a bubblegum challenge as if to puncture the echoing silence of the gallery. Flowing from these highly detailed photo-realistic paintings, more new works: massive abstract murals of ocean waves. ‘I left out the horizon in these sea abstractions to express the expansiveness I feel when I am watching the ocean,” said Wildbank. “Though I cannot hear the waves of the sea, watching it, swimming in it, thrills me beyond any horizon.”
The switch from photorealism to abstraction in the hands of any other artist would seem incongruous, but in the case of Charles WIldbank, it is magnificent. If the portrait series demonstrates Wildbank’s finely detailed perspective, then the wave series zooms his lens in even closer; all the way to the atomic level of water into new horizons.
Wildbank’s new work in this show moves fearlessly from the disciplined realism of the portraits and still life to the exhilarating freedom of his abstract waves. Both the new and the earlier works in this solo show, seduce the viewer to look closer, and, in the words of Charles Wildbank, remind you to “see everything beautiful.”
The exhibition opening will be celebrated on Friday, May 25, at a reception from 4 onto 7 p.m. in Jedediah Hawkins Luce Barn Gallery, on South Jamesport Avenue, a half a block south of 25A Main Street in Jamesport.
If planning upon dining that evening in the area, highly recommended is the Jedediah Hawkins Inn directly across the kitchen herbal garden. Please make your reservations early for this holiday weekend at http://jedediahhawkinsinn.com
Recent painting by Charles Wildbank is a commission for a collector in the Florida Keys. This canine painting “Best Friends” posed a challenge in that it depicts a pair of English Setters, one of which has long been deceased. It is a comfort that the two are reunited on canvas reminiscing of their glorious days together.
The scope of artist Charles Wildbank’s art commissions is never confined within any one genre. He has painted murals for the Queen Mary 2, portraits of celebrities, surreal seascapes, portraits, florals, still life and classical automobiles. His art can be viewed at his latest webpage http://wildbankfineart.com
Recently, a small treasure has resurfaced since the family moved out of their big Long Island home, The John Philip Sousa House in Sands Point. It is a miniature needlepoint portraying Charles Wildbank’s parents which Charles painted onto a needlepoint grid from a snapshot taken in the Bahamas during the 1960’s.
Though small this needlepoint turned out, the features have managed to make it past the confining limitations of needlepoint to a pleasing result showing its perplexing pre-digital pixelation. Hardly did Wildbank realize until later during the 1990’s that he would be artistically involved in the digital age in his now digital painting through Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter.
Wildbank continues his portrait work to this day. He hopes to have a large exhibition of his super portraits this summer 2012. Please visit his latest webpages at http://wildbankfineart.com
Wildbank’s visit to Palm Beach and the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo last month was met with success. Art fans can now enjoy one of his sea life paintings of seashells, “Star of the Sea” in the reception desk area of the Ocean Reef Club Hotel. This clip shows an inside look as Charles applies paint strokes to the canvas including some of his other beach scenes. Currently he is working on another large wave painting, a part of his Wave series due completion the end of this month. Please return to this blog for more details soon and check out his new webpage addition http://wildbankfineart.com
Host Audrey Johnson and Mary McGuire Wien offers their interpretation on Wildbank’s Art at his public event during August 2011 in Bridgehampton at the Laurel Group of Baywoods. Interview is concluded by our caterer “Sen” of Sag Harbor in front of Wildbank’s “Wave” triptych mural.
Audrey Johnson’s news coverage is in three parts:
New portfolio format has a built in dimension information (size) and detail (zoom) navigation links for each painting. Viewers will have improved ease of visualising a particular painting in its architectural interior surroundings. Also enclosed at bottom of portfolio page is a link for a complimentary e-brochure containing more information about artist Charles Wildbank. Many of the listed artworks are current and available to art collectors direct from Wildbank Studios in the wine country of eastern Long Island’s North Fork.
Watch Wildbank on YouTube as he answers question on Art: Should Art reflect decay of our society? Questions were culled from fans in facebook for this new Art series keeping art collectors informed on the artist’s vision. He compares his points with those of 17th century artist Francisco Goya on the horrors of war. Post your questions on Wildbank’s facebook wall here.
Wildbank unveils his “Golden Wave” painting at The Laurel Group at Baywoods in Watermill. Interior designer Martin Ross spoke praises on painting “The Recital” of a surreal piano swept away at sea plus “The Buddha” shown.
The highlight of exhibition, “The Wave” painting, has been enlarged in Wildbank’s studio into a new triptych this year by adding a pair of panels on each side, adding up to 14 feet length. It was a grand evening so professionally hosted by Mr. and Mrs. McAteer of The Laurel Group and catered by Sen restaurant of Sag Harbor serving delectable sushi and fine wine.