September 22, 2017 Taos, New Mexico

The Harwood Museum of Art

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Saturday, May 16, 2015 - Sunday, January 24, 2016

Charles Strong: A Celebration of Life and Art

Gallery: Peter & Madeleine Martin Gallery
Charles Strong. Rocky Mountain Quartet #1, 1960
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“In the best of abstract painting, there is a kind of drama, a weight, a sense of human existence.  It's an elusive kind of thing, and even the great artists don't get it all the time, but when you get it, the strength of the internal art makes the shape, so that the form and the meaning are interlocked."

          -  Charles Strong, 1996

In more than fifty years of artistic endeavors, Charles Strong adhered to a lifelong exploration of the ideals and aesthetics of Abstract Expressionism, a movement dating from the 1940s that shifted painting from representational to abstract. As a youth working in a Colorado mine, Strong was inspired by the first wave of this artistic movement primarily through one of its founders, Clyfford Still (1904-1980). Of this early fascination, Strong recalled "I was a serious young person looking for a visual way of investigating both the natural and the internal world, to delve into the realm of imagination and ideas with significant use of the intuitive." 

Strong went on to study at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1959 where he quickly became an esteemed peer of the San Francisco School of Abstract Expressionism along with other vanguard artists such as Elmer Bischoff, Richard Diebenkorn, Jack Jefferson, Nathan Oliveira and Frank Lobdell.  

This exhibition has selected instances from Strong’s career showing both his adherence to recurring ideals of aesthetic expression as well as his desire to experiment with new forms, materials and concepts.

As a child Strong visited Taos with his father through their travels of the southwest. In 1989 he built a home and studio in Ranchos de Taos, splitting his time between here and San Francisco. While in Taos, Strong contributed immensely to the arts through his own work, philanthropy and a generosity of spirit in supporting younger artists. Charles Strong remains greatly missed in our community for his artistic contributions, for his affable personality, and for his enthusiastic support of Taos arts and culture.

Go to this link for an Oral History Interview with Charles Strong documented by the Archives of American Art.

Special Thanks to Lyn Bleiler-Strong