My paintings are based on colors, patterns and textures that I find in nature, from the variegated surface patterns of flowing water to forms derived from the skeletal rib cage of the human body. I work to graphically abstract these natural forms and show fields of color and texture that hold flat, yet dimensional structures. In addition to oil and acrylic paints, I use acrylic paint transfer processes, handmade stencils, mesh resists and other unconventional painting methods together with industrial materials, such as metallic paints, silicone, and fluorescent colors. In contrast to more traditional methods of depicting volume and depth of form and space, the combination of these materials and techniques produce an aesthetic with distinct and unique elements.
In the classic Herman Hesse novel, Siddhartha, the protagonist, Siddhartha, experiences enlightenment while observing and contemplating a great river. Hesse’s description of this moment inspired the imagery and themes of my artwork:
Tenderly, he looked into the rushing water, into the transparent green,
into the crystal lines of its drawing, so rich in secrets. Bright
pearls he saw rising from the deep, quiet bubbles of air floating on
the reflecting surface, the blue of the sky being depicted in it. With
a thousand eyes, the river looked at him.
– Herman Hesse, Siddhartha
The Morning Glory Suite of paintings is based upon colors, textures and patterns found in microscopic imagery and other natural forms. The vertical and horizontal elements, or blots, are inspired by the gel electrophoresis method of DNA sequencing. Also known as Southern Blots, this photographic process captures bands of blot-like forms streaked in vertical columns that phase through shades of grey across the picture plane.
When I met my wife in the early 1990s, she worked in a cancer research laboratory at the University of Minnesota, sequencing DNA using this method. As an artist, I was struck by the patterns and rhythmic forms produced by the technique. I observed an interesting duality in the results of this clinical and ostensibly rigid scientific process. It occurred to me that Southern Blots produced not only an individual’s literal, genetic portrait but also a visually distinct and aesthetically captivating abstract portrait.
The title of the series is derived from the tall trellises of morning glory vines that we grow each summer at our home in Minnesota. From behind the wall of vines, the sun shines through to create patterns of light and shadow within the visual field, reminiscent of the DNA sequencing on a larger scale. In processes such as infusing my work with dot patterns, mesh grids, and layers of color, I abstract these disparate elements to broaden the relationships between my influences.
Please see Charbonneau and Szopinski LLC for full portfolio of public mural artworks.
I am a painter and adjunct faculty member of the Fine Arts Department at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My paintings are currently on view at the Holly Hunt Showrooms in Minneapolis, Chicago, Miami and Denver.
I have painted commissioned artworks and murals for businesses and private collectors for more than thirty years. Notable murals and large-scale installations can be found at the Urban Flower Field in downtown Saint Paul, the Medtronic Corporation in Columbia Heights, and the Minneapolis College of Art & Design in Minneapolis.
I earned my MFA in Visual Studies from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2006, my BFA in painting from the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul in 1999.
Please see: Charbonneau and Szopinski, LLC for additional portfolios.
Cell (651) 260-4784
Studio: Rock 9 Studios, 2242 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55114