Charlotte Meyer’s main body of work resulted from her study of the red light district of Amsterdam. Her night-time forays to photograph this borderline society were risky, depressing, and enlightening. The subsequent pieces – strapped, bound, enhanced, and ornamented bodices and dresses – in many cases reflect this dangerous edge. An edge that related to her own life and to the marginalized existence of those she studied.

Charlotte Meyer
Chastity, 1992, copper, brass, Chinese shim, 60 x 30”

Charlotte’s forms wrap the female in chain mail, heavy metal straps, chased and ornamented sheets of metal, and delicately fabricated squares of silver. The ghost-like quality of what is missing is potent in Charlotte’s work. Armor encased torsos are often padlocked in some way. Charming is a lovely vest of constructed silver units chained together. There are boxes of chocolates, filigree gates, a square of key holes, a window through which we glimpse a nude woman, and a tiny padlock covering the heart. In Dance the hinged metal torso is locked from behind. In On The Surface the lock hangs below a chased metal vest suggesting the weightiness of the garment, and a chaste enclosure for the chest, the heart, the whole woman.

Dance, 1996, bronze, found objects, tulle, 15 x 34 x 7”

In her most recent work, seemingly endless chains are hung from ceiling to floor. With this chain, sometimes attached, sometimes separate, are elongated bulbous glass vials, distorted from heating and pulling. The vials hold found objects that include flower parts, seeds, and metal. Though not physically defining the female form, the piece embodies the more intimate aspects of the previous work and describes an internal struggle with memory and pain, captured in clear glass and hanging in space. The chains are made with meticulousness that forces the viewer to consider the technical process as well as the painstaking repetition of constructing and connecting the tiniest details of an individual’s history. The resulting installation is like a glass screen. We need some yet invisible key to open the last padlock.

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Charming, (detail) 1996, sterling, fine silver, 10k, 11 x 17 x 6”
Screen 2: Eroticism, 1997, glass, steel, aluminum, bronze, 78 x 96”
Charming, 1996, sterling, fine silver, 10k, 11 x 17 x 6”
Desire, 1996, steel, stainless, 14 x 58 x 7”