Charlie Kaplan’s path to making sculpture began with his interest in the melding of form and function found in old hand tools: he created his first work out of a piece of abandoned Douglas fir using a set of chisels acquired for the purpose. The experience was life-changing. While still working full-time, in 1995 he began studying sculpture seriously, working with both stone-carvers and practicing artists in Pietrasanta, Italy, where he spends each summer, as well as in classes near his home in Los Angeles.
For the past 15 years Charlie has devoted himself full time to his art, following his passion to create abstract forms that are expressive, elegant, and tactile. His inspiration comes from the carefully chosen material itself, allowing his mastery of technique and well-honed instinct to join forces, creating sensual forms that walk the line between pure abstraction and representational reference. As Christopher Eamon stated in his catalogue essay “The sculptural work of Charlie Kaplan practically begs one to touch it.”
While originally focusing his attention on mastering marble, Charlie’s innate curiosity has led him to experiment with other materials to express his vision. A few years ago he spent time in Venice studying with the master glass blowers in Murano, and recently he has started to work in metal as he had before, working with foundries to realize large-scale works in steel and bronze.
Almost since the beginning, his work was placed in private collections in the U.S. and Italy, but it was in 2009 when the city of Pietrasanta, Italy installed one of his large scale works on its new pier that he began to receive wider attention. He was selected for the Cibart Festival, a multi-media event in Seravezza, Italy for 3 consecutive years. In 2018 his one-man exhibition at the Sidney Mishkin Gallery at Baruch College in NYC featured Soaring, a large scale-work that has since been acquired for permanent installation in the William and Anita Newman Library at Baruch College. His solo show at Long Sharp Gallery, NYC, in 2019 followed by the gallery’s 2020 Sculpture of Scale group exhibition in Indianapolis was a major breakthrough, placing Charlie in context with 11 other international sculptors. His nearly 9-foot foot high marble sculpture from that show, Lonely Spire, is on long-term exhibition at the Conrad Hotel in Indianapolis, a venue known for both its collection and its rotating exhibitions. A major work is being acquired by the American Jewish University in LA, joining such luminaries as Anthony Caro, George Rickey and Jenny Holzer in the Smalley Sculpture Garden.