28th century, American Visionary Museum, Art Enables, fantasy, flying cars, imagination, landscapes, mapping, narrative, symbols, text, Touchstone Foundation for the Arts, touchstone gallery, visual memories
During the month of December at Touchstone, Art Enables artist Charles Meissner displays delightful and intricate artworks, mapping moments from his own life as well those of “The Fresnos,” a time-traveling couple from the 28th century who observe our present day activities. His prodigious visual memory for landscapes and events of historical and personal significance are depicted in great detail along with textual narratives. Flying cars rove over the rooftops and tall buildings overlap toward the horizon. Figures, drawn with pen, look past the viewer from indoors and out. All of his work is engaging, completely honest and fantastical, not unlike the work of some artists in Baltimore’s American Visionary Museum (AVAM). “A breath of fresh air,” commented one of Touchstone’s regular artists.
An expert at rendering landscape spaces with pen, pencil and watercolor, he typically presents from a bird’s-eye view – a remarkable feat of imagination, since he cannot have actually seen them that way. Scenes often feature connection points about his personal history – text, symbols and codes dotted throughout to help unlock mysteries of their locations. Charles works quickly on whatever piece of paper is available, often scribbling his code on the margins of discarded newspapers, memos and advertisements. He has been working at Art Enables Studios for over ten years.
Art Enables is a non-profit art studio and gallery in Washington DC for adult artists with disabilities, creating the opportunity, environment, materials, and marketing they need to succeed as professional artists.
Funding for “The 28th Century: The Work of Charles E. Meissner” was provided by Touchstone Foundation for the Arts, a tax-exempt organization created by the artists of Touchstone Gallery to create opportunities for emerging artists through its Young Artist Fellowship program and to support art-related projects, such as this exhibit, that engage a broader community.
“The 28th Century: The Work of Charles E. Meissner”: November 29-December 29, 2013. Wed-Fri–11 – 6 pm; Sat-Sun – 12-5 at Touchstone Gallery, 901 NY AVE NW, Washington DC 20001; 202-347-2787