Medium: Locust Wood
I am an artist in search of beauty, truth, and goodness. Part of this search has included making outdoor sculptures. I have enjoyed the challenge of making art for public viewing (outside of galleries and museums) â€“ things that can stand up against the forces and distractions of the natural world and be of interest to the people who come upon them.
In 2003 I turned to the human figure for my outdoor sculptures. I depict people in poses and situations that reveal something of the human condition â€“ our desires, wonders and work, our questions concerning our purpose, and about our relationships with each other and the world. Iâ€™m trying to pay attention to my own experiences in hopes of helping others pay closer attention to theirs. Human figures are the oldest and most frequent subjects in the history of art and I believe this tradition can be as alive and vital today as it has ever been â€“ if the situations depicted are authentic and relevant to our experience.
I make my outdoor sculptures out of locust wood because it is the hardest, and most naturally weather resistant wood available. It grows in my region where it has been the traditional fence post wood. A combination of milled lumber and natural tree trunks and limbs provide me with an interesting variety of geometric and organic planes and forms to construct my figures. This combination also suggests that humans are part nature and part their own invention.
Charlie Brouwer and Glenda live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Floyd County, Virginia. Nine acres of open fields and woods, with 20 outdoor sculptures placed along a 1/2 mile walking trail, surround the house and studio. Charlie calls their place "Out There" because of its remote location at the end of a gravel road, but also because he believes that art can point us towards thoughts, feelings, and meanings beyond our immediate experience.
He received a BA in English from Grand Valley State University, an MA in Painting and an MFA in Sculpture from Western Michigan University.
Charlie taught art from 1974 to 2008 â€“ 2 years H.S. in Australia, 11 years H.S. in Michigan, and professor of art at Radford University for 21 years. Since 1975, his work has been shown in well over 250 exhibitions throughout the United States, and in Australia, Hungary, and Poland. He now works fulltime making indoor and outdoor sculptures, and temporary public art installations.
In 2016 he received a Visual Arts Fellowship from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
He has completed 13 large-scale community engagement projects that involve borrowing 100s of ladders from all across a community. The temporary sculptures he creates with them become metaphors for the aspirations of the whole community depending on individual hopes and dreams supporting each other and rising up together.