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 50 Years/50 Artworks      

43.
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Charles Joseph Biederman
(American, 1906 - 2004)
#7, New York
1940
wood, metal, Plexiglas, paint, 66 3/4" x 81 1/4" x 15 1/2"
Gift of Lydia E. and Raymond F. Hedin

Charles Joseph Biederman’s mature art is known for a reliance on strict formal elements, where line, color, shape, form and space are organized in two and three-dimensional units that are geometrically severe, yet playful to the eye and suggestive to the mind. They are not abstractions, where to abstract means to distill or simplify the components of already existing forms but rather completely new visual expressions in and of themselves that could be said to be based on the experience of looking at existing forms in nature. #7, New York is one of three large-scale reliefs originally created by Biederman for the Interstate Medical Clinic in Red Wing, Minnesota. Named for the place it was conceived and designed, this work translates the way we perceive our environment as an overlapping and interconnected series of lines, shapes, colors and forms -into a unique visual statement, which may or may not have the same surface appearance as that environment. To match the experimental quality of what he came to call “New Art.” Biederman also exchanged traditional paints on canvas for new materials.

Painted metals, transparent plastics, and industrial fabrication techniques became the vehicles for his vision.
Biederman was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Czech parents, where his first exposure to art was at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Beginning in 1922, he worked for a commercial art studio in Cleveland, and moved to Chicago to study at the School of the Art Institute before leaving for New York in 1934. After visiting Paris in 1936, Biederman quickly absorbed and replicated his own versions of French cubism, biomorphic abstraction, Dutch De Stijl, and Russian constructivism. These experiences led him to believe that art’s theoretical and philosophical underpinnings were vastly more important than any direct allusion to subject matter or political, social or emotional content. While many forms of abstraction had their place in the development of his art, Biederman continually cites Paul Cezanne, the French artist who for many is known as the “father of modern art,” as his foremost influence. Cezanne became an important model for Biederman because his paintings resulted from a study of how we perceive nature, rather than simply abstracting and stylizing its visible forms. In 1942 Biederman moved to rural Red Wing, Minnesota. Isolated from the constantly changing views of the art world, he was able to focus on the development of his own art and theories, which he has expressed in eleven books, published between 1948 and 1999.

 
 
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