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Hope Remains – Parts I & II: Charlie Brouwer
Dec 5, 2008 - Apr 18, 2009
Charlie Brouwer was born in Holland, Michigan and currently lives in rural Floyd County among the beautiful, rolling hills of Southwestern Virginia. He completed his MA in Painting and MFA in sculpture at Western Michigan University. In 1974 he began teaching high school in Australia and returned to teach high school in Michigan in 1976. In 1987 he accepted a position as Professor of Art at Radford University and remained there for the rest of his teaching career. His recent retirement has allowed the artist to focus fully on his studio work. Brouwer has participated in more than 30 solo, 121 juried/group, and 20 two or three person exhibitions.
A frequent image/object appearing in the artist’s work over the past two decades is the ladder. The artist says, “…we build and repair with ladders, we pick fruit from ladders, we rescue with ladders. With ladders we reach over, rise up, and transcend.” Not only has the artist crafted ladders as components of his sculpture, he has created structures with everyday ladders borrowed from communities. One example, in a castle in Poland, through its leaning, entangled, dependent construction created a rich metaphor for the life of a community.
In this exhibition, the center presents both drawings and sculptures. Of his drawings the artist says, “Drawing is a way for me to think out loud… Images, symbols, places, events, and memories come to mind and are placed in the context of the composition and then others appear in response. I usually write on the drawings in an additional attempt to make the thought, feeling, or belief into something that seems true, beautiful and complete.” Longtime supporters of the arts at Appalachian might remember that Brouwer’s work Picnic won the Doris and Martin Rosen Award in the 5th Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition.
Charlie Brouwer, Hope Remains (detail). Mixed media. Image courtesy of the artist.