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Charles Gaines

Starless Midnight (group show)
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead
20 October 2017 - 21 January 2018

In the impromptu acceptance speech Dr Martin Luther King gave for his honorary degree from Newcastle University he spoke of three urgent problems throughout the world: ‘the problem of racism, the problem of poverty and the problem of war.’ Despite the advancements of civil rights since this speech, his words still ring true today and are set against a backdrop of political populism, post-truth and so-called ‘fake news’.

This major group exhibition, presented within BALTIC’s Level 3 gallery, will bring together leading international artists whose work, in very different ways, each sheds light upon this contemporary condition within a framework of the important legacies of Dr. King. Some new work will also be commissioned especially for the exhibition.

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead


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Charles Gaines

Numbers and Trees IV, #2 Xeno (orange) (site-specific installation)
ICA Miami, Miami
1 December 2017 - 4 November 2018

Charles Gaines, Numbers and Trees IV, #2 Xeno (orange), detail, 2017 © ICA Miami, Charles Gaines
Charles Gaines, Numbers and Trees IV, #2 Xeno (orange), detail, 2017 © ICA Miami, Charles Gaines

Charles Gaines’s multi-panel installation activates ICA Miami’s central stairwell, and explores the artist’s approach to seriality through a unique vertical composition.

The artist’s practice places him within the legacy of Conceptualism, evidenced by works such as his gridded, serial images of trees painted on plexiglass that successively plot the shape of trees on one another. Since the 1970s, he has used self-determined rules in order to translate photographic information; he has said: “I use systems in order to provoke the issues around representation.” Here, photographs of trees are translated in various forms of colorful abstraction.

Gaines’s strict method of presenting his works is notably inspired by early Conceptual practices, but he doesn’t utilize the formal rules or use of language and pictures in the same way that artists such as Joseph Kosuth would. What he intends to lay bare is the arbitrariness and dependence on context of all processes of significance. In simpler terms, in the artist’s view, content, meaning, and emotions do not develop naturally, nor are they universal.

ICA Miami, Miami