The more than casual kinship between modern chemistry, alchemy, and magic is subject of Charles McQuillen’s natural action pantings. McQuillen saturated paper pulp with ph indicator solution. He then exposed his handmade litmus paper to environmental acids: snow, ice, and rain. By exposing the papers to water samples from a range of environmentally-significant sites, he created free-flowing paintings that speak to our romantic notions of the environment and the issue of acid rain. Where McQuillen’s site-specific artwork endures only as photographs of installations, his handmade papers are both the object and the subject: in the case of Drizzle, a report on invisible forces at work in the natural world.
I began consciously sculpting when I served as a volunteer teacher in a native boarding school in the Alaskan bush. As an art teacher with little experience I looked to my Yupik and Inuit students and the village elders for guidance. I taught and learned direct carving techniques in stone, antler, and ivory. I continued to work directly in wood and stone when I returned to the lower 48. In time I developed a constructivist approach to sculpture while still working with materials from the immediate environment. Currently my works are site-specific environmental installations that integrate the materials at hand with natural processes to highlight the characteristic features and/or history of a place.
—Charles McQuillen, 1993
Charles McQuillen received a BA from College of the Holy Cross and a MFA from Tufts University/School of the Museum of the Arts. Charles also holds a MEd from the University of Vermont.