Michelle Charles by George Negroponte

BOMB 87 Spring 2004
087 Spring 2004 1024X1024
​Michelle Charles 01

Michelle Charles, Whole Milk/Skim Milk and Untitled works. See footnote #1 for full credit. All images courtesy of the artist and Anthony Grant, Inc., New York.

There is a deceptive simplicity to Michelle Charles’s images of medicine bottles, honey jars, bars of soap, and other household objects. These straightforward images contain no outward trace of struggle. They have the total coherency of road signs, and a careless eye might class them with mechanically reproduced designs. In fact, this coherency derives from fierce rigor and precision, a hand making its mark at just the right moment. A battle has been waged not unlike the calligrapher’s struggle to achieve a single flawless gesture. These sublime images are found in a moment of skill and command, extracted through practice and repetition.

Michelle Charles 02

Michelle Charles, Lydia Pinkham (set of 4), 2001, photograms, 14 ×11” each.

Charles’s subjects suggest healing, cleansing, and domestic regard. Her small photograms and paintings on wood of glasses of milk are as soothing and remedial as a midwife’s herbal recipe. Embedded in Charles’s work is a dialogue with art both past and present: from the hyperrealistic Egyptian Fayum mummy portraits to Rothko’s somber and evocative paintings. But these influences cannot be measured in mere footnotes.

​Michelle Charles 03

Michelle Charles, Medium Knitting Series #2, 2002, oil on paper, 39 1/2 × 27 3/4”.

Charles trained in the manner of David Bomberg’s tough-minded British school of the hand and the eye. Her drawing is anchored and substantial, with a hard-won ability: a mark that can spatially carry the form right around the back. She penetrates the flatness with her touch. Each drawing in her most recent series, for instance, includes a rendered needle that seems to have knitted the drawing itself. Physically, she finds the gradual and convincing weight of everything she draws, stabilizing our gaze through the immediacy of her vision. When you look at her drawings you are in the here and now.

George Negroponte is a painter based in New York.

Peter Dreher by Lynne Tillman
57 Dreher 01 Body
Issue #145: Mr. Vladimir Putin’s Photo with Women by Deb Sokolow
Sokolow Page1 Ab Edit

An embarrassing incident at the Kremlin (from 2015? was it 2016?): in which women invited to an International Woman’s Day photo with Mr. Vladimir Putin arrive in high heels, much to the fear of Mr. Putin’s staff who are there to witness several tall women towering over the Russian Federation president.

Studio Visit: Madeline Hollander by Mikkel Rosengaard

Visually notating dance.

Tauba Auerbach and Sam Hillmer
7 Auerbach

Before the premiere of their multimedia collaboration LIGATURE, visual artist Auerbach and saxophonist Hillmer talk about connectivity, geometry, and the nature of mind.

Originally published in

BOMB 87, Spring 2004

Featuring interviews with John Waters, Shirley Jaffe, James Welling, Nuruddin Farah, Alma Guillermoprieto, Olu Oguibe, Hanif Kureishi, Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, and Howe Gelb.

Read the issue
087 Spring 2004 1024X1024