Throughout the last twenty two years Michael Charron has spent over twelve thousand hours, alone, in Colorado's backcountry drawing, painting, reading, writing and attending to the ontological
Seeking has been a life long interest for Charron and the solitude of the wilderness is where that interest is best served. Charron uses four llamas to access areas that few see, fewer have photographed but, most likely, were never painted from direct observation. It is in the wilderness that the frenetic demands of contemporary living are not an interruption. Within days of arriving in the wilderness,
Spirit, Gabriel, Norman and Scooter in the Eagles Nest Wilderness
Charron perceives an essence mystics refer to as the One Divine Nature or Higher Power. For Charron, the wilderness provides an abundance of empirically experienced demonstrations, real or imagined, attributable to Divinity
Charron considers himself a practical mystic, the assignment seems aggrandizing, however, when "practical" and "mystic" are considered independently; "practical mystic" is as impactful as "auto mechanic". The "practical" piece is the act of creating art and the "mystic" piece is expressed through a curiosity in "seeking". Some of Charron's work is overtly existential, for example his mixed media assemblages, while his landscapes conceal what he refers to as "optical communions" or "visual prayers". Specifically, Charron's process features the development of a spiritually charged visual narrative which is eventually painted over by a traditionally approached landscape subject. The images below present one example of the concept, the image on the left is the "optical communion" and the image on the right is the landscape that, ultimately, concealed the visual prayer/optical communion.
Since 2016, the visual narratives within the underpaintings have been informed by the biographies of Venerated Christians and "Incorruptible" Saints or Native American folklore and mysticism, especially that of the Hopi. The written word within these underpaintings are always executed in cursive and are, simply, affirmations. Charron's oeuvre also includes mixed media assemblages inspired by the underpaintings. The assemblages, a recent development conceived of during a wilderness sojourn, are an overt metaphysical iconography easily connected to the landscape work and the artist's ultimate pathoghraphy.
Underpainting for "South of Slate Creek" 48 x 60" aqueous medium on canvas
"South of Slate Creek" 48 x 60" oil on canvas