oxford gallery

Charles Houseman

Charles HousemanTide Run, Sand Beach, oil on canvas

Charles HousemanChristmas Rose, oil on canvas

While the landscape tradition of the American nineteenth century clearly informs the work of Buffalo painter Charles Houseman, it is not the tradition of the sublime, panoramic scenes of the Hudson River painters but of their intimate woodland interiors. His paintings remind one of the small-format, poetical compositions of a Durand, a Kensett, or a Homer Dodge Martin. But Houseman seldom gives the viewer a “vista,” even if only a vista into a closed space. On the contrary, he usually flattens the space by placing an object immediately in the viewer’s presence. “Background” and “middle ground” are not relevant terms when used in regard to Houseman, because the composition is not one of clearly defined planes. We are confronted, instead, with a succession of interlocking planes through which a background is only glimpsed; it is not something seen but something to be striven for. The effect is not one of ‘viewing” the scene from a fixed point outside of it but of actually entering the location. There is little of the picturesque here.

Instead we sense the physical impediments which would be involved in getting from point A to point B. We are aware of each branch which must be pushed aside and each rock which must be climbed over or walked around if we are to progress through the scene depicted. In the artist’s own words, “As I paint, I can imagine the feel of the dirt and the sticks in my hand.” In this respect, Houseman’s art is less that of the landscape painter than that of the naturalist. He makes us feel the physical density of each scene he paints.

Charles HousemanTrinity, oil on linen board

Charles HousemanThe Gilded Age II, oil on canvas

Charles HousemanOctober Cloak, oil on canvas

Charles HousemanRidge Fall, oil on board

Charles HousemanFirst Light, oil on board

Charles HousemanSimon's Walk, oil on board

Charles HousemanInvocation, oil on board

Charles HousemanCrossing, oil on board

Charles HousemanBlackwoods, Acadia, oil on board

Charles HousemanLast Snow, oil on board

Charles HousemanArmada, oil on board

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