Reference Entry

Charney, Melvin

in Benezit Dictionary of Artists

ISBN: 9780199773787
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199899913 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/benz/9780199773787.article.B00035943
Charney, Melvin

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  • Painting
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  • Installation Art, Mixed-Media, Assemblage, and Collage
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Canadian, 20th century, male.

Born 1935; died 17 September 2012.

Sculptor, draughtsman, painter, installation artist, architect.

In 1976 Charney attracted attention at the Corridart exhibition accompanying the Montreal Olympic Games. He reconstructed on their former site the façades of two architecturally and historically significant buildings that had been pointlessly destroyed by order of the city council. Charney has been described as an architectural sculptor in the same way that other artists are known as architectural painters and in fact his sculptures are, to an extent, architecture. They do not reproduce existing architecture, as is often the case with architectural painting, nor are they genuine, usable architecture - if they were they would be nothing less than architecture itself. Using simple materials, often wood, Charney's meticulously executed pieces establish a dialogue with genuine architecture, they provide a kind of complementary commentary that accentuates the space of the architectural design and often function as a kind of critical commentary based on the same notion of architectural space. His pieces, which include architectural plans, often in axonometric perspective 'bring out' the key concepts with which architecture is or should be concerned and which, according to Charney are monuments, archetypes, collective consciousness and history. Melvin Charney teaches at Montreal University school of architecture....

Reference Entry.  425 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Painting ; Architecture ; Installation Art, Mixed-Media, Assemblage, and Collage ; Sculpture and Carving ; 20th-Century Art

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