the artist

Charles Searles

Charles Searles

Philadelphia, PA

Charles Searles

Charles Searles was born in 1937 and grew up in Philadelphia.  He always believed that the creative spirit was present within him since conception.  He proved to be an exceptional artist from a very young age.

Searles moved to New York in the 1970’s and lived in New York City on Broadway and Bleeker from the 70’s until his passing.  New York embraced him and he embraced New York.

Searles attended Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) and received both the prestigious Cresson and Ware Awards.  He used the award to travel through Europe and Africa.  Charles’ first trip to Africa was truly life changing, having a permanent impact in his artwork that lasted throughout his lifetime.  His paintings were filled with pattern, rhythm, masked figures, and pulsed with energy.

Searles’ work evolved and gradually changed from figurative realism, to African inspired figurative, to semi abstract, then rolled off the canvas and eventually became sculpture.

Charles was a master in draftsmanship, color and building, and he was exhibited nationally and internationally. People of various cultures related to his work as coming from their own culture, not just African.  His language spoke to everyone, and his work was embraced by everyone.

Charles Searles’ long and distinguished career also included numerous awards, among them, the Pollok Krasner, the James VanDer Zee, the Adolph and Esther Gottleib Award, the National Endowment for the Arts, and many more.

His resume is voluminous, and he showed in the Sande Webster Gallery in Philadelphia for over 30 years.  Upon his death in 2004, his work was exhibited in a solo show at June Kelly Gallery in New York.

Searles also completed over a dozen public art commissions, 4 of which are permanently installed in Philadelphia.

Charles Searles lives on and continues to inspire.  His work radiates with positive energy.  His light in this world still shines bright and will never fade. Searles is a treasure.

- Kathleen Spicer

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