Carlton Fletcher: Retrospective
Carlton's first show at Susan Calloway Fine Arts encompasses a range of work from a career spanning over four decades. While this exhibition focuses on his oil paintings, it also includes several works on paper. Subjects include still life paintings, studio scenes, Potomac River views, and street scenes depicting Washington, DC, Venice, Florida, and a number of Italian cities, including Rome. While Carlton's works are, for the most part, formally composed, closer inspection leads the viewer towards a distinct sense of deconstruction. Lines and borders are often actually the impression of line. The rigid compositions are undercut by the loose and painterly way he outlines natural elements and renders the built environment with soft, yet structured, brushwork. These constructed scenes are even more compelling when natural elements are included, especially in Carlton's more recent works. Trees become painterly splashes of green, clearly representational but trending towards abstraction in a way that sets them apart from the architectural elements they disrupt. Carlton’s landscapes, often familiar scenes from the Potomac, are far less formal than his grand still life paintings or city scenes and represent a freer, more dynamic style, while still in keeping with his larger oeuvre. Carlton Fletcher received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1972 and earned his MFA at American University in 1982. He was founding member of the Washington Studio School in 1985 and was an instructor there until 2012. Since 1977 he has been featured in numerous solo shows at Wolfe Street Gallery, Georgetown Art Gallery, Hull Gallery, the Washington Studio School, and Jane Haslem Gallery. He has also been included in a number of significant group shows, including: Washington Art from the 1940s through the 1980s, American University; National Juried Exhibition, Gallery 84, New York; 169th Annual Exhibition, National Academy of Design, New York; New American Figure Painting, Contemporary Realist Gallery, San Francisco, and Clemson University; Lennart Anderson Selects, First Street Gallery, New York; The Human Figure in New Painting & Sculpture, New York Academy of Art; and Prints: Washington, Phillips Collection, Washington. His work can also be found in the permanent collections of American University, Georgetown University, Stanford University, and the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities.