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Charles Meanwell: Windsor Paintings

June 7, 2008 - August 4, 2008

AWE Gallery

Born in Windsor, Charles Meanwell often thinks he became a painter because he grew up on such a flat surface. Currently living in Owen Sound, Meanwell returns to his hometown to paint the everyday buildings and street corners of Windsor and the expansive landscape of Essex County. No stranger to the region, he has already completed several paintings based on previous visits. Working with two distinctive formats – small oil on board compositions and large acrylic paintings (up to nine feet long) on building construction fabric, Meanwell captures both the minute details and the big picture in his unique, painterly style.

In the spirit of the 19th-century itinerant artist, Meanwell and his work travel well. The small paintings fit into slotted boxes, while the Typar construction fabric is sturdy enough to be painted on while lying flat on a gravel road. Using quick drying acrylics, he simply rolls the paintings up to move them about, allowing him to work in almost any location. For this exhibition, he will continue to add new works to the exhibition as they are completed.

Meanwell often starts his paintings with a dark background. This changes the tone of his broad, yet thinly-painted brushstrokes. Working from the foreground into the background, with few changes once the colours are applied, the dark ground that remainds visible provides contrast and structure to the painting.

As artist-in-residence, Meanwell will paint in and around the AGW and county, and will be available to discuss his work with the public. He will also speak to school groups, give exhibition tours and offer painting workshops as part of the Gallery’s education program. According to Meanwell, “It is difficult to describe how strongly it appeals to me to paint Windsor and Essex County. I think the strength of my connection to the region is best described in my paintings.”

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