Last Wednesday evening marked the opening of Brooklyn-based artist Charles Koegel’s first solo show at Waterhouse & Dodd. Aptly titled, “Color Maps” sources inspiration from the changing urban landscape of New York City as neighborhoods grow and change.
Koegel’s style invokes Hard Edge connotations, reminiscent of the abrupt color transitions and linear rendering that is a signature of genre-defining artists John McLaughlin, Frederick Hammersley, and early Frank Stella. His most recent work breaks away from strict “color mapping” by incorporating collage while still maintaining their undeniably Abstract Expressionist flavor. Another signature technique Koegel utilizes is the incorporation of grass into his canvases. This temporary nature of grass, dried and preserved and almost whimsically painted green again, reminds the viewer of the face-lift nature of gentrification.
As art-historically aware as his paintings are, Koegel’s biggest muse in music. Specifically, instrumental beats by Midwestern hip-hop artist RJD2. In fact, he often describes his paintings in relation to hip-hop – pre-planned, and based on samples (in Koegel’s case, collage). He draws parallels between gentrification and sampling, connecting the revitalization of architecture and urban areas that have been forgotten or unkempt to beefing up an old forgotten record.
It’s the intricate and contrived layers of old and new which make Koegel’s work so special. His work is on view at Waterhouse & Dodd until June 11. Stop on by to get a taste of summertime Brooklyn in the Upper East Side.