Charlie Schaffer - The Critique

London-born Charlie Schaffer is an exceptionally talented contemporary painter, recognised for his vibrant impastoed portrait and figurative paintings, intellectually and psychologically stimulating the viewer. In fact, the striking compositions have the ability to penetrate the observers passions, generating intense emotions, generally resulting from the heightened realism and deeply sombre tones. The artist employs dynamic brushstrokes, fluid contours and strong tonal contrasts, not only to create a unique experience for the viewer but to bring the subjects to life. The figures appear three-dimensional, living and breathing through the canvas, as if emerging from the their immortalised representations. 
 
Schaffer conveys the personality and character of the each model through realism and mystery, whilst mastering the depiction of flesh, veins and the very souls of the depicted protagonists, in an abstract manner, as every inch of skin explodes into a multi-faceted and prismatic terrain of neutral shades. Energetic colour and luminous hues gleaming on the silhouette of the human form add to the depth and dimension both literally and introspectively..  Schaffer captures the utmost private moments and permits us to engage with the deepest, most intimate and personal of human emotions.
 
Schaffer has the rare talent of turning a blank canvas into a powerful and forceful image that often creates an intense or discomforting relation between the subjects depicted in the paintings, the viewer and the artist himself. Looking at the figures portrayed, the observer is fixated by the intensity of the highly evocative expressions. One can feel the dramatic sensations experienced by the anonymous faces eloquently interpreted by the artist; sometimes portrayed as deep in obscure thought, other times their anguished state of mind is saturated with despair. Schaffer shows us raw and unhindered emotion in its purest and most delicate form with tear-stained cheeks, distant gazes and swollen faces. In some works, naked figures are lying awkwardly and disparagingly, challenging and upheaving conventional norms and accepted practices and Western ideals. Fervent use of chiaroscuro,  combined with a fiercely realistic artistic vision further reinforces the strength and intellectual depth of Shaffer’s conceptions.
 
Deeply rooted in art history, Shaffer’s work is rich in profound meaning and substance with parallels to the British figurative painter Lucian Freud, who also impregnates his work with powerfully obsessive and, at times, pungent qualities. Schaffer possesses the creative confidence and unscrupulous artistic integrity to conceive incredibly unsympathetic and severe portrayals. Freud famously stated, ‘I want the painting to be flesh’. Vivid portraits that grip the spectator, conceal nothing and speak volumes of veracity and inner contemplation. Schaffer effectively highlights the most sacred, meaningful and deepest facets of the human mind and soul. A special artist who guides us to intimate places behind closed doors through subliminal portholes giving access into one’s soul. The artist reveals all, permitting the viewer to experience intrinsic and innate   dimensions of an intangible reality and representations of a shared universal experience.
 
Timothy Warrington
International Confederation of Art Critics