ABSTRACTION

Charles Burchfield, Ahead of His Time

Charles Burchfield may no longer be a household name, but his show at UCLA's Hammer Museum is a chance to see why his works can hang alongside the likes of Picasso, Gaugin, Seurat, and Chagall. Burchfield's abstract watercolors and drawings maintain a "spooky sensibility...almost as if we were being plied with some kind of forbidden fruit," writes Tom Freudenheim in The Wall Street Journal. Unlike contemporaries Georgia O'Keeffe and Arthur Dove, Burchfield was invested almost solely in pattern and abstraction, nearly eclipsing an art movement that came after his time. His watercolors draw inspiration from nature as well as the psyche.