Since 1995 Charles Gaines has focused on the postmodern sublime and metonymy to make art that combines drawn or photographic images with text. Drawing from an array of literary sources, especially arguments challenging conventional ideas about meaning in art and its relationship to aesthetic experience, he made these ideas the basis of his work. His art began to address the irreconcilable opposition, in classical theory, between the conditions of feelings (beauty) and the conditions of culture (sublimity), which negate each other in the same experience. Gaines had his first show in New York City in 1972, and since then he has had more than sixty solo exhibitions and has participated in several hundred group shows throughout the United States and Europe.
Portrait photo courtesy the artist
Greenhouse, 2003–07, mixed media installation, 76 x 145.5 x 98 in; photo courtesy LA>