Charles Flickinger

 Artist Biography

I am a sculptor, installation artist and teacher living in Nelson County, Virginia.  I taught at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. over a decade, Virginia Commonwealth University & various workshops around the country.  I have taught at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD as well as Washington Studio School in Washington, D.C.                

Since graduating from the Corcoran in 1986 I have worked in many materials, but the human figure is a constant element in both sculptures and installations. My earlier figures incorporate torch welded steel, found objects and layers of other materials, such as glass or hair.  In more recent pieces carved wood serves as the bones of the sculptures instead of steel.                 

Although I enjoy the craft of sculpture, I see the materials and methods I use as secondary to the ideas my sculptures express.  I revel in the interplay between the inherent content of a material and the more intentional elements (such as the gesture of a figure) which I add. My pieces may suggest a narrative, sometimes a mythical one, but these myths are reinterpreted as personal visions rather than illustrations of particular myths.                

The images come from a philosophical outlook that holds the physical world as sacred.  I care very much about this world, particularly the natural environment that we are destroying.  It is the one thing I would give anything to change.  As an artist, it can be difficult to feel useful in this regard.  Lately, though, it has occurred to me that our culture's low regard for intact nature is a symptom of a general lack of reverence for the beauty of existence.                

The arts can be a path to fostering an appreciation of our world.  Aesthetic experience should be valued in this light.  In that sense, I think part of an artist's function (or a scientist's or a parent's, etc.) is to explore and to love this world, and to help others see the depth of the beauty in and around us.