Charles Ginnever
Art School

Charles Ginnever routinely explores the tension between optical illusions and sculptural reality in his large, open-form welded constructions. The monumental bronze Stretch is composed of 9 flattened trapezoids forming 2 circles. The 2 forms support each other as a sideways configuration of a trapezoidal pseudo-figure-8. Because of the angles and the welded seams, the reading of depth is unclear when trying to determine if the trapezoids are really flat or three-dimensional. Ginnever’s work is often, and aptly, described as origami in steel, in which each plane of steel exists in a simultaneous harmonious and dynamic balance with its touching section. This balance is an ingenious composition of weight, mass, shape and volume which seems to move, and somehow defy gravity. While the perceptual riddle only intensifies as you move around the work with a new point of view seen at each turn. Another common practice of the artist’s is to allow these gigantic puzzles to naturally rust allowing for a nature-made patina to develop.  

In the 1960s, Ginnever was a pioneer in the revival of outdoor sculpture and public art in America. His early works from this time were of steel scraps sometimes combined with canvas or other non-traditional materials and painted with patterns in vivid enamel hues. In the following years, Ginnever pared down his use of color and selection of materials into works that were deceptively complex, similar to Stretch.


Charles Givinner Stretch

Charles Ginnever, Stretch, 1994, Steel. Acquired in 1995; Gift of Carnegie Mellon University through the Estates of Sylvia and Sidney Feldman.