When an artist is truly talented, you look at the training and academic background, you look at their collector lists. You study their style to see who may have influenced them.
When you study art you start with drawing, you cannot proceed with any area of art until you master the skill of drawing, and any master living or deceased could draw.
Charles Dwyer has mastered drawing and painting the female figure. Known
For doing mixed media works on paper and canvas, layered with symbols, designs and
abstract diversions, give his work more depth than any modern figure artist. His signature style is classical and will hold the test of time. It hangs with major art collections in private, public and corporate in the United States, Munich, Germany, to Barcelona, Spain.
Dwyer’s involvement in conservation and restoration of historical landmarks and churches across the U.S. may be the source of the layering media and meanings that appears as a recurring theme in his art. It continuously exposes him to the techniques and intentions of long gone artists. As part of his work in conservation and restoration , Dwyer has recreated murals in various landmark buildings, restored decorative murals and stained glass designs, yet his true passion remains in his own work.
Fascinated by the complexities of both the human form and the human mind, Dwyer finds inspiration for his art in the simplicity of the face, and expands on that in his love for doing portraiture. Using mixed media to create images with both literal and figurative layers. Skilled in many areas of the creative process, drawing however remains closest to his heart. “Drawing is the foundation of everything, Dwyer avers. “It’s kind of primal.”
Much of his inspiration comes from photographs he takes of people, both anonymous and familial. He finds that photography is a critical part of his artistic process. Also, it was during his studies in college he “fell in love” with the print making process of etching and stone lithography. Dwyer can now move into something he has longed to do the 3-diminsional form of the female figure in sculpture giving the expanse of his work full circle and in perfect timing for the peaking of his artistic journey.
1961 Born West Bend, Wisconsin
1984 Studied Milwaukee School of Art & Design/ Valedictorian
Studies include: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, anatomy, history of art
Impressionism 1840’s – 1890’s
Expressionism 1930’s – 1950’s
1985 West Bend Art Museum West Bend, WI
1984-85 Kohler Arts Center Wisconsin
1985 Milwaukee Art Museum 1st Prize Print Gruenwald
1993 Special Editions Limited, Chicago, IL
1993 Chicago Artexpo, Show cover “Preview Magazine” Chicago, IL
1994-2004 New York Artepo
2000 KIA Institute of Arts
2004West Bend Art Museum West Bend, WI
1996-2004 Vault Gallery Cambria, CA
1998 Eleanor Ettinger, Soho, NY
1999 Miranda Gallery Laguna, CA
1994- 2003 Emery Fine Arts Kalamazoo, MI
2000-2003 Gallery M Denver, CO
2002 R.Roberts Gallery Jacksonville, FL
2003 Kingsley Art Gallery Red Bank, NJ
2004 Newbury Fine Art, Boston , MA
2004 Hanson Gallery Sausalito, San Francisco, Car mel
Cathedral of the Assumption Louisville, KY - stained glass windows
Pabst Brewery Milwaukee, WI – stained glass mural
St. Louis Union Station St. Louis, MO – stained glass windows at entrance
St. Mary’s Church Victoria , TX - stained glass
University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN – stained glass
University of Notre Dame, Administrative Building Notre Dame, IN –
Rotundra mural, Trompel’oeil
University of Notre Dame, Cathedral Notre Dame - interior mural, gold dome guilding
All Faiths Chapel Boystown, NE - stained glass
St. Josaphat’s Basilica Milwaukee, WI – murals, Trompel’oeil
St. Louis Cathedral New Orleans, LA – murals, Trompel’oeil
Egyptian Theatre Ogden, UT – mural – fire curtain
Hawaii Theatre Honolulu, HI – mural- fire curtain
Holy Ghost Church Kula, Maui HI – altar, statues from 1874
Geary Theatre San Francisco, CA - decorative interior
Orphenm Theatre Phoenix, AZ – color analysis
Pfister Hotel Milwaukee, WI – grand lobby, ceiling mural
Stone Manor Lake Geneva, WI – historical decorative finishes
St. Patrick’s Church New Orleans, LA – mural
St. Bernard’s Church Akron, OH – decorative finishes
St. John the Baptist Church Kansas City, KS – decorative finishes
United Methodist Church Delta, CO – stained glass
Fourth Presbyterian Church Chicago, IL - decorative wood ceiling panels
IXL Historical Museum Hermansville, MI – ornate hand stenciled ceiling
Rao Residence Milwaukee, WI – Louis XV Room, gold leaf
Chris Schroeder Insurance Co Milwaukee, WI – marbleizing
Wisconsin State Capital – free-hand painting, murals, stained glass, bronze & mosaics Minnesota State Capital - free-hand painting, murals, stained glass, bronze & mosaics
Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York, private suite decorative painting and mural
CHARLES DWYER: PORTRAITIST OF INSPIRATION
Art World News Featured Artist Vitae January 2000
Fascinated by the complexities of both human form and the human mind. Charles Dwyer
finds inspiration for his art around any given corner and in potentially any face. “I’m always looking at people. I could be in a restaurant and say, ‘Boy that person looks interesting. ‘I’ve
always loved portraiture it’s just you and the image.”
Dwyer utilizes a mixed-media approach to create paintings with both literal and figurative layers. Skilled in many areas of the creative process, drawing, however, remains closest to his heart. “Drawing is the foundation of everything, “Dwyer avers. “It’s kind of primal.”
Born in West Bend, WI, in 1961, Dwyer and his fraternal twin brother are the youngest of six
children. Although twins, the brothers have opposing talents, one in art and one in engineering.
Dwyer’s mother tells him he was interested in art from an early age. “ As a child you drew all the time, ‘she told me, not because she asked me to do it but because I enjoyed it.”
Dwyer excelled art at West Bend East High School and received a scholarship from the West
Bend Art Museum, a place that he frequented throughout his early years. At the Milwaukee School of Art and Design, where he majored in Fine Art, he “studied hard” and graduated
Dwyer maintains that one of the most important things he learned in college was time management. He’s also discovered that a class he found unimportant at the time, photography, is now a critical part of his artistic process today. Much of the inspiration for his current work comes from photographs he takes of people, both anonymous and familial.
It was also during college that Dwyer “fell in love” with printmaking and working with copper
plates and etching.
Directly after college, Dwyer’s work was featured in a one-man exhibition at West Bend Art Museum. With money saved from the show, he backpacked with friends through Italy, Austria,
Germany and Greece. Dwyer recalls being most impacted in Vienna where the Austrian artists and the moodiness brought on by frequent rain moved him. To this day, the overwhelming beauty of Europe remains an underlying inspiration.
After his European sojourn, Dwyer stumbled into a job that helped formulate the artist he is today. His mother noticed a job listing that read, ’Wanted: decorative artist for stained glass company.’ Dwyer pursued the classified ad which led to a 12 year relationship with the restoration company, Conrad Schmitt Studios in New Berlin, WI.
“This job was pretty influential in introducing me to all sorts of imagery and media like the
spiritual, astrological, and classical.” explains Dwyer. “I did a lot of mural restoration, trompe l’oeil, marbleizing, and mosaic. This was one of the few jobs you could get and really apply your artwork skills to.” As Dwyer’s personal artwork grew in popularity, he juggled a full-time job with showing of his work at night.
Dwyer Interview February 2005
Drawing is focus of my work the foundation, my favorite part of the work. Likes the subtle feel of pencil or pastel on the paper, the friction that occurs. The pastel is immediate, and spontaneous not like waiting for paint to dry. Over planned work becomes boring I like to be surprised. I never work from a live model for my portraits. I always use photos. I pre prep the paper first with an abstract approach doing layers with the patterns first. Some of the patterns
are from an old book I found with b & w designs, I like the liner element. I have worked for
Conrad Schmitt for 20 years now which has greatly influenced my work to date.
There is a narrative that occurs, but then he wants to allow the viewer to make a decision on how to interpret it. It is more autobiographical vs. interior. Women are my subject; the eyes are the focal point. I want to create an intimacy where the portrait may remind them of themselves or they may get an immediate feeling they are allegorical. They are not someone specific. Highly inspired by German and Italian issues of Vogue he found while on a trip to Europe in 1985. He fell in love with the layout, the lighting, clothing, fabrics even the paper used to print the magazine affected him. I am borrowing ambiguous images from these photos and put my drawings together that way. The images are icon like; larger than life I love the 30 x 40 size or larger. I feel my work can’t be copied. This is what creates a signature artist. I keep my work partly in traditional drawing, and then allow the work to become funky, I don’t want the work to be too serious. I feel most traditional work is ego driven and boring. I want to create a look that is inviting or provocative. I like the magical, and fantasy aspect. The young women show an element of innocence and are an angelic something we can hold on to. I love the beauty of women. Working in churches doing restoration for 20 years on angelic and cherub figures have influenced me greatly. But the modern angelic figure is also mischievous, venerable and innocent.