Scheips’ painting technique and style reflect his obsession with cubism, collage and Picasso, which has informed his work since his college days as an art student. He consciously rejects photographic depiction and instead relies on his eye and hand in his drawings and paintings. He invites us, through his paintings, into his multi-faceted world. He works both figuratively and through more inventive constructions that he calls his “glueless collages.”
His still lifes and flowers are modern vignettes, rendered in captivating color and compositionally interesting juxtapositions of elements that dissolve the boundaries of traditional genres. However, his recent Fugue series, begun in 2019, reflects a different tempo. This body of work finds Scheips returning to a more cubist and less narrative focus.
The paintings exhibited in Inventions Fugues Flowers follow Scheips’s distinguished career as a cultural historian, author, curator and archivist. He is the author of several books including: American Fashion; Andy Warhol: The Day the Factory Died and most recently Elsie De Wolfe’s Paris. Scheips also curated the first exhibition ever of David Hockney’s iPad and iPhone drawings in Paris in 2010 for the Foundation Pierre Bergé/ Yves Saint Laurent. His nearly forty-year friendship with artist David Hockney, for whom he served as chief studio assistant during the 1980s in Los Angeles, has also been an influence on Scheips who was a frequent portrait subject of Hockney over the years.
Inventions Fugues Flowers covers the span of 2016-2019 with numerous examples of Charlie’s large-scale gouaches on paper Inventions; examples of his recent Fugue series of the past year, as well as his Flowers and still life paintings. The exhibition features five paintings on canvas that Scheips created at his temporary studio in the Loire Valley of France during the summer of 2018. It also includes two recent canvases inspired by Scheips’ visit to London’s 2000-yearold Mithraic temple archeological site in October of 2018.
A prolific painter, Scheips has developed a body of work that reveals his love of literature, mythology, art, religion, music and culture. Scheips’ work mirrors his interests and passions. His enthusiasm for the pleasures of the table and travel also find their way onto his canvases. When in New York, Scheips’ apartment is his studio. He sets up studios wherever he travels, most frequently during long stays at his beloved Provincetown on Cape Cod and in France.
Inventions Fugues Flowers provides a glimpse into these aspects of Scheips’ life and creative process. The variety in Scheips’ artistic practice presents a body of work that is both autobiographical and provocative. His passion for drawing and coloration offers a dense and pleasurable viewing experience.
Inventions Fugues Flowers is on view through Jan. 31, 2020 at 154 Ludlow Street