“It looks like lawn chairs,” the viewer might say, and they’re right. Dan Charbonnet’s new series of woven paintings – at first glance – bring most of our minds to that all-American staple. They seem both familiar and iconic. Dan Charbonnet is a man who appreciates his mother with endless dedication; a man who can reminisce in his memories with visceral clarity; a man whose passion for justice and politics is equal to his passion for gardening and bird-watching; a man who soaks up the world around him like a sponge. He’s also a Virgo, his favorite color is orange, and sometimes during the golden hour of dusk you can catch him standing in the backyard with a glass of wine simply admiring his many plants. Every aspect of Dan’s life is lived with a calm intensity that is hard to match, and his art is no different. The woven paintings of his newest series are rigid in their arbitrary rules. The taut strips of canvas, the hard edges of acrylic paint, the precise weave pattern. To watch him work is like watching an architect at the drafting table. Accidents are rare and unforgiven. But if the composition of the canvas seems stiff, it is balanced with bold, carefully orchestrated and often playful colors. Just as scent or taste may transport us to a moment in time from our past, so too does each color palette in Dan’s paintings. The vibrancy of the canvas matched with titles such as Sunset and The Mockingbird, Carnival Time, and Rhapsody in Green grant us an intimate view into Dan’s most treasured evocations.
So yeah, they might look like the factory-made lawn chairs of yester-year. Maybe our multi-faceted lives are just an array of cookie-cutter patterns, bastions of the human experience. The warmth of something familiar might be held together by the strength of tradition, rules, and repetition. To experience life colorfully is a choice.
Dan Charbonnet is a Louisiana native and graduate of the University of New Orleans where he received a Masters of Fine Arts in painting. His works are in museums and private collections across the country.
Dan Charbonnet’s art is grounded in the rudiments of painting. He strives to achieve balance between process and application. The construction process comprises actions like ripping, stretching, heating, stapling, fraying, and sewing the canvas, while the application involves the taping, priming, painting (hard lines, soft lines, washes, gestures), and curating color.
For Charbonnet the studio work, both as an object and compulsive action, is about being aware and being present. His creative process involves the distillation of experience and composing these moments into painting constructions. These arrangements of material, space, and color pursue harmony and intention. The creative drive is a destination and struggle that both exercise and nurture mental health.