Carlton Fletcher received his degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA, 1972), and American University (MFA, 1982), and is one of the founding members of the Washington Studio School (1985).
Since 1977 he has had twenty solo shows, at Wolfe Street Gallery, Georgetown Art Gallery, Hull Gallery, the Washington Studio School, and Jane Haslem Gallery.
Group shows include: Washington Art from the 1940s through the 1980s, American University (2014); National Juried Exhibition, Gallery 84, New York (1996); 169th Annual Exhibition, National Academy of Design, New York (1994); New American Figure Painting, Contemporary Realist Gallery, San Francisco, and Clemson University (1992); Lennart Anderson Selects, First Street Gallery, New York (1990); The Human Figure in New Painting & Sculpture, New York Academy of Art (1990); and Prints: Washington, Phillips Collection, Washington (1988).
His work is in the permanent collections of American University, Georgetown University, Stanford University, and the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities.
In the course of trying to find out how painting works I have sometimes concentrated on close observation; at other times I have tried my hand at a little invention. Although at any given moment I might have thought myself to be an exponent of one particular kind of painting, looking back I see that I have actually pursued quite a few kinds.
What remains constant is that, what the painting wants to be, and the route it takes to get there, only comes to light while doing the work. Quite often I'm clueless, and it takes forever. Other times, it just seems to paint itself, and I’m only required to help the paint get from the palette to the canvas.
I was sixteen when I first saw some pictures of Vermeer's paintings in a magazine: it felt like a glimpse of a more lucid reality. Each subsequent discovery of yet another artist who played in that league was like the discovery of another world. One of the conclusions I drew from these encounters was that the history of drawing and painting, classical and contemporary, is a continuum, and that, in art at least, there is no meaningful separation from the past.