Although Charles Green Shaw is primarily known for the abstract paintings he completed in the 1930s and early 1940s, the artist experimented in various styles throughout his career. In the 1930s he completed a series of paintings depicting the skyscrapers of New York. Dubbed “Plastic Polygons”, these painting/constructions were displayed in the A.E. Gallatin’s Gallery of Living Art and rank among his strongest works.
Around 1940, he completed a series of abstract geometric paintings that involved colored spheres connected by thin lines of paint that were placed on white or solid-colored backgrounds. In some of these paintings, Shaw texturized his paint by mixing it with sand. These paintings simultaneously call to mind the atom as well as other mid-century uses of colored spheres such as Greta Grossman’s folding screen for Glenn of California and Charles and Ray Eames Hang-It-All.
In a related series featuring an ominous red sun, Shaw seemed to build on these two-dimensional untitled abstractions by adding shaded backgrounds.
Around 1945, Shaw completed a series of montages that utilized playing cards, newspaper clippings and other found objects.
In the 50s and early 60s, his paintings became increasingly organic as his style was influenced by abstract expressionism that was blossoming in New York. He returned to a hard-edge style in the late 60s with a series of large geometric abstract paintings that involved the same style of texturized paint he utilized in the 1930s and 1940s.
Perhaps his most well known painting depicts an abstracted outline of the New York skyline superimposed by a pack of Wrigley’s spearmint gum, although this mix of abstraction and realism represented a departure from his normal work.
Following is an eclectic and somewhat uncharacteristic selection of works he completed during his life. If you have any examples of Charles Green Shaw to add to this gallery, please send a photo and email to email@example.com.