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Charles Hinman

For over five decades Charles Hinman’s paintings have explored the boundaries of light, shadow and shape through elaborate three-dimensional wood structures created with mathematical formulas. The canvases in primary colors and tones interplay between real and elusive forms and structures. The artworks explore the very nature of three-dimensionality, away from the traditional rectangular picture plane. Color interaction is essential to Hinman’s process and the colorful shadows connect him to Light and Space artists like James Turrell. The interplay of hue, light, and form energize the canvases as well as the surrounding area with shifting perceptions and reflective color, depending on the vantage point. 


“My consuming interest in making these paintings is to establish the real sculptural space of the work in context with an illusory space and show how these spaces interact. I think of my paintings as occupying a 6-dimensional space: the three dimensions of space, one each of time, light, and color.”

“As the viewer passes a multi-dimensional object, the line of sight moves and causes the perception of a change in the shape of the object. As the quality of light changes across the surface of the painting, it affects the way in which the color is perceived. In bright light, the color pales – in shadow, it deepens. The simplest of paintings becomes quite complex when all these factors are considered.”

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In the 2007 leading art publication, The New American Abstraction 1950-1970, Claudine Humblet states about Hinman's work: From the very beginning of Hinman's adventure of construction […] the aim of the first structures was to address the challenge of inertia and the force of gravity, sometimes connected with the interpretation of the aesthetics of "primary structures" (structures by Donald Judd, Soll LeWitt, Robert Morris, and Robert Smithson were included alongside shaped works by Hinman, Insley and Sven Lukin in Art In Process. The Visual Development of a Structure, organized by the Finch College Museum of Art, New York in May 1966).[…] Hinman's work was intended solely to be regenerated within its own parameters: the "three dimensional character of the canvas object,", the "painted illusory or pictorial image," and the "feeling of the picture plane or the flatness of the wall."


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Artwork © Charles Hinman