Charles Beinhoff was a keen observer. He left us with many portraits of his friends and colleagues, and his surroundings. He had the ability to effortlessly transcribe all that he saw onto paper. But he was a masterful editor, accenting what was important and omitting the superfluous. The resulting artwork preserved what was most essential and most revealing. Charles was equally able to reach into his own mind and show us everything that he was able to imagine. Exotic people and far off places, whimsical fantasies and alternative realities were all given form under Charles’ hand. Each new scene, sometimes supported with an extensive narrative gloss, was able to stand beautifully on its own, but also provided a new disclosure into Charles’ state of mind.
Perhaps most illuminating were the many self portraits Charles completed. He did not spare himself from the glare of his own scrutiny. When viewing Beinhoff’s self portraits, we always have the sense that we are seeing the real man. This is meant not only in the sense that we are presented with an aging man, who has lost his hair and is past his prime, but in that we are able to see his humor, his concerns and the sparkle in his eye as well. Charles once completed a large series of paintings showing the imaginary courtship of himself and a colleague who had caught his fancy. He depicts himself in all of these pieces with a full head of hair. The one time that he does not present us with an unfiltered view of reality he has given us a truer insight into himself.
Charles Beinhoff’s life and art were inextricably intertwined. Charles spent all of his time engaged in art. He was always creating- drawing, painting and thinking. Looking back on his extensive body of work, it seems that he has left us a complete record of his inner life, his thoughts and dreams. In life, Charles rarely spoke. He reached out to others through his artwork and writing. It is fitting that he should continue to do so in such a complete way even after his passing.