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Ralph Eugene Meatyard: Burchfield | Meatyard

An artist must paint not what he sees in nature, but what is there. To do so he must invent symbols, which, if properly used, make his work seem even more real than what is in front of him.
—Charles Burchfield

The man of ideas and ideals will … find elements of his imagination in segments of the actuality around him. —Ralph Eugene Meatyard


Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present Burchfield | Meatyard, an exhibition investigating the shared sensibilities of painter Charles Burchfield and photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard. Both were American artists who utilized artistic means and uncommon talent to suggest an apprehension of truths that appear beyond the intellect. Landscape was a central subject for both artists throughout their careers, and the approximately eight watercolors by Burchfield and sixteen photographs by Meatyard on view convey an overlapping conviction in the transcendental aspects of nature.

Charles Burchfield (1893–1967) was a visionary artist known for his watercolors of nature and cityscapes. Having grown up in Ohio and subsequently moving to Buffalo, New York, Burchfield was inspired by the writings of Thoreau and Cather, and was a friend of painter Edward Hopper. His paintings are comprised of swirling brush-strokes, the use of vibrant color and nearly-hallucinatory forms. His work was the subject of a major traveling exhibition in 2009 curated by Robert Gober.

Ralph Eugene Meatyard (1925–1972) was an optometrist by trade who lived in Lexington, Kentucky. Though his home was far removed from any art world metropolis, he was nonetheless at the center of a community of artists and writers that included Thomas Merton and Guy Davenport. An exhibition of his photographs of masks and dolls was organized by the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011 and is currently on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

This exhibition is presented in association with DC Moore Gallery, New York.