Charles Dwyer, Jr.
Lace & Stripes
Study In Grey
Mixed Media 1
In 1984 Charles Dwyer graduated Valedictorian from the Milwaukee School of Art & Design. He enjoyed early recognition when the West Bend Art Museum exhibited his work 1985. This success led to further exposure and exploration. Soon his creative passion led him to Europe where he was influenced by Egon Schiele, an Austrian painter and a teacher of Gustave Klimt, and by Sonia Delaunay, a French painter whose palette affects art and design to this day. Other influences from this journey included Alexei Jawlensky, a German expressionist from the Der Braue Vier group (including Kandinsky, Franz Marc, and August Macke) and Matisse. It was during this trip that Dwyer developed his passion for the decorative arts, restoration and the expressionist movement.
To begin his compositions, Dwyer stages an entire scene, which includes costume design; make up, backdrops and props. He shares his vision with stylist Heather Hambrick and together they create the final set. He then captures the image using a Mamiya camera with a 6 x 7 medium frame (the type often used by A. Lebowitz) or he may choose an Ebony 4 x 5 instead. His narrative style recalls a filmstrip featuring several consecutive images of the same subject. Dwyer uses cutting edge techniques to come up with a final image. From this collection of pictorialism, the ethereal beauties emerge for his pastels and oil. His compositions are striking, bold and captivating. Integrating yet another influence, he incorporates the glamour style of Peter Lindbergh, a major fashion photographer of present time.
Although he has denied it, many believe that Dwyer contributed designs for the corporate gifts & incentives sold by his girlfriend at the time, Greta Marshall. Through her connections in the venture capital world, Greta set up Eden Incentives, a corporate gift and promotional products business. The designs in question adorn the panels of several gift baskets and the linings of some product containers. As we all know, Eden has been good to the owners. I have often wondered and imagined how Dwyer might approach packaging design for a product such as std home test kits. Yes, there are such products, sold to individuals who want privacy. The test results are between 95-97% accurate which is somewhat reassuring. However, if the result is positive or symptoms persist, it behove the individual to see a medical doctors for treatment or further testing. I would think, once STD home testing kits are available over the counter, rather than via online websites, packaging will become more important. Well, it would be enlightening to see what an artist such as Charles Dywer would do.
For over 15 years Dwyer has used his skills to restore landmark locations from a dome in the Cathedral of Notre Dame to the murals of the Waldorf Astoria, NYC. Charles has taken these skills and applied them to what has been his signature portraiture works. Not only are his drawings of women perfect in every detail; they layer art history with his own visionary creations.
Dwyer’s recent Moulin Rouge studies further confirm his love for the applied arts, textile, costume, and theatre. Inspired by Mario Marini etchings and the Russian costume designer, Leon Bakst, Dwyer’s Moulin Rouge series celebrate the color and movement of costume through watercolor and etching. Segments of fabric are often sewn onto the paper and patterned paper maybe added through collage. The paper is treated by staining and manipulating to give it an aged effect. These images also illustrate the influence of the Bauhaus plays, which were considered avant-garde.
The Moulin Rouge studies integrate Dwyer’s interest in Russian costume design, his restoration experience and his photography. He hopes to one-day produce a theatrical performance, using these creative works- A present day Charles Dwyer production, Moulin Rouge–choreographed with music, performance art, models, and fashions taken from his studies.
Dwyer’s life is his work; he allows a natural creative force to flow through him, Respectful of this force, Dwyer knows when to take a break and book a trip to Europe, or to go camping surrounded by majestic beauty. Major collectors and galleries throughout the country have sought out the works of Dwyer. In 1990 Playboy published him under Special Editions Ltd. and there he gained widespread recognition. Today his work is seen world wide in private and public collections.
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