Charlie Sheard’s distinctive, pure abstract paintings harness colour and form in bold combinations. His rhythmic, often energetic visual language is expressed in an array of textures (metallic, matte and luminescent) and colours (pure, vivid pigments of the highest quality and more subtle, expertly mixed hues). Beyond these qualities is Sheard’s mastery of composition. His works are built up in a series of organic, overlapping layers of paint of shifting hues, tones or textures—at times allowing the support to shine through and take a leading role.
This ability to harness materiality and movement is founded upon his studies in both painting and performance at art school. His career launched with a solo exhibition in 1982 in Cambridge (UK), where he spent seven years immersed in both the canon of European art history and the vibrant late 20th century painting scene in the UK. Deeply engaged with the history of art, Sheard has also found inspiration in Chinese landscape works from the Song and Yuan dynasties—schools of painting that convey nature’s ephemerality and subtle human emotion.
Sheard’s abstract compositions have been shown in over fifty solo exhibitions in Australia, Europe, the USA and China. His works have been acquired by many prominent public, private and corporate collections worldwide, including the Museum of Old and New Art (Tasmania), the World Bank (New York), the University of Cambridge (UK) and Deakin University (Melbourne).
A retrospective, Charlie Sheard: Ten Years of Pure Abstraction, curated by Terence Maloon, was exhibited at the Drill Hall Gallery (Australian National University) in 2016. This landmark exhibition reflected his established reputation as a leading abstractionist, whilst also signifying his continuing interest in visually capturing and interpreting gestures, sensations and poetry. His most recent exhibition, Charlie Sheard and Huquinwu, opened at the Boding Gallery in Beijing in April 2018.
Sheard ran an acclaimed studio school for 20 years in Sydney and has lectured at the Beijing Central Academy of Fine Arts, the University of New South Wales and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
- written by Josephine Touma (of Art Gallery of New South Wales)