By Mark Rawlinson
Charles Sheeler used to be the stark poet of the desktop age. Photographer of the Ford Motor corporation and founding father of the portray move Precisionism, he's remembered as a promoter of - and apologist for - the industrialised capitalist ethic. This significant new reconsider of 1 of the foremost figures of yank modernism argues that Sheeler's real dating to development used to be in reality hugely damaging, his 'precisionism' either skewed and obscure. masking the whole oeuvre from images to portray and drawing awareness to the inconsistencies, curiosities and 'puzzles' embedded in Sheeler's paintings, Rawlinson unearths a profound critique of the procedures of rationalisation and the stipulations of modernity. The ebook argues eventually for a re-assessment of Sheeler's usually disregarded overdue paintings which, it indicates, may well purely be understood via an intensive shift in our knowing of the paintings of this well known determine.
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Additional resources for Charles Sheeler: Modernism, Precisionism and the Borders of Abstraction
These images of New York City are a continuation of Sheeler’s interest in the local environment; epitomised by his series of photographs of the Doylestown cottage. As such, Sheeler’s choice of New York subject matter is unsurprising; a concentration on those facets of the metropolis, its skyscrapers, its bridges and elevated railways that proved inspirational for artists of all denominations. But, as his Doylestown works reveal, Sheeler readily turns his attention to the interior spaces of these architectural icons, too; I will go into more detail on this later.
In the end, however, I want to argue that Sheeler’s series of Doylestown photographs – repeated images of darkened windows, silhouetted stoves, shady stairwells and half-open doorways – allow us to access something fundamental, something ancient. These rooms are monadic, literally windowless because the windows are no longer transparent, where the truth of the monad lies in its self-containment. Taken from Leibniz, the notion of the monad recurs in the work of both Benjamin and Adorno. 105 These images of restrained access, of barred thresholds, are themselves thresholds that allow access to the world in miniature.
One cannot help but note the staged-ness of each image. These photographs are full of dark spaces, looming silhouettes; there are thresholds that cannot be crossed, stairs that cannot be climbed and windows that cannot be seen through. The interior thus becomes a site of containment, a claustrophobic space with harsh, unpredictable lighting and deep dark shadowy areas into which one dare not venture. Lucic argues, with justification, that these images are a series, or with Adorno in mind, a constellation.