Charlotte Fairless


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Panel I
Panel II
Evolve I, 2018


Charlotte Fairless is a Boston area artist, working primarily with textiles and acrylic painting. She has a B.A. in Sociology from Middlebury College, and an M.F.A. in Textile Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. The inspiration for her work comes from the tension between the wonder of the natural world and the human attempt at rationalization of this magic. She strives to explore tactile materiality and surprising colors, as well as intuitive layouts and abstraction that peaks the viewers’ interest. Charlotte’s many houseplants, and the phenomenon of taking a tiny piece of nature and keeping it alive indoors, serve to inspire and complement her art.


The Evolution of Ornament is a body of work representing a visual exploration of Darwin’s theory of sexual selection, abstracted into textile panels and paintings. These pieces speak to the allure of textural ornamentation, and the fragmented shapes depicted are gathered together into asymmetrical layouts referencing dissection and bird plumage. The parallel themes of glamour in the natural world, and the pulsing vivacity of flora and fauna, emerge as a vehicle for the contemplation of the innate irrationality of desire. The viewer is seduced through neon color palettes, tactile materiality, and considered placement of specifically amorphous shapes. They are intended to simulate in the viewer the reaction of a female bird when presented with a mating display, a kind of visceral attraction to an elaborate presentation that speaks more of intrigue than lust. Knit samples provide a textural complement, with many of the patterns referencing retro futurism and the projected glamour of progress evident in American mid-century design.

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