“Remember nature is your teacher, I am your guide”, was a prevailing theme in the studio of Nerina Simi (1890 – 1987) in Florence, Italy, where Charles Kapsner’s greatest learning as a painter occurred. His artistic roots are planted in the 15th Century, yet he remains a contemporary painter whose compositions fuse old and new. He works to ensure that both art and artist are accessible, and that the images serve as educational tools.
Perfecting the drawing is critical before ever picking up a brush, a lesson ingrained in him from his time with Simi. Largely a studio painter with a tilt towards still life, he prefers the “Vanitas” style, where the objects depicted symbolize the brevity and vanity of human existence. His repertoire includes drawings, florals, portraits, figurative pieces, nudes, and dancers, painted primarily from life. He is also known for his work on several frescoes in the US and Italy.
Interwoven through several decades and in between his studio time are two community-based art projects: the Little Falls Fresco Project, two large frescoes (9 X 26 ft. and 18 X 41 ft.) in the local elementary school that portray scenes of significance to Central Minnesota; and the Veterans Education Historic Monument, commissioned in 2009, which Kapsner shares is perhaps the most impactful of his career.
The Veterans Educational Historic Monument is a series of five 8’ X 10’ oil paintings for the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls, MN which depict the stories of the men and women of each of the U.S military branches. He just finished the fourth of five, which was dedicated Memorial weekend, 2018. Kapsner is immersed in the final painting of the Air Force, planned for installation in late 2019.
These projects, all located within 10 miles of his central Minnesota hometown, provide Kapsner with what he shares as “community ownership in the art in a meaningful and important way”. He recalls the words from his high school graduation speaker who urged the class to give back to the community, and Kapsner views these public works of art as his contribution to the place he will always call home.
Recent exhibitions include the OPA Juried Salons in 2016, ’17 and ‘18, and the 85th Annual Hudson Valley Art Association exhibition. Kapsner is the recipient of the Career Achievement Award from the Florence Biennale, Master Artist from the Five Wings Arts Council in Minnesota, and a Public Service Commendation from the United States Coast Guard. Kapsner was a finalist in the 13th annual Art Resource Center competition, still life division; first place in the Salmagundi Club new member show; and awarded a Public Service Commendation from the U. S. Coast Guard. He received a silver medal in the Oil Painters of America Salon 2016, and a finalist in the 2016 Portrait Society of America still life division. He is an Artist Member of the Salmagundi Club, Coast Guard Art Program (COGAP); Portrait Society of America; and Oil Painters of America.
He calls Little Falls, MN home, and travels frequently between Minnesota, North Carolina and Italy.
For inquiries please contact Charles Gilbert Kapsner