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1337 Gallery • Current

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Cocoon © 2016, eucalyptus bark, twig ball, paper, nest glass egg, 14” x 35” x 14”.

Phyllis Thelen: Coming Full Circle

January 10–February 27, 2020
Receptions: January 10 • 5–8pm + February 14 • 5–8pm 
Artist Talk fundraiser event: January 31, 6–8pm

1337, Underground Gallery, Founders’ Gallery, Donors’ Gallery

Art Works Downtown is pleased to honor Phyllis Thelen, Founder of AWD, with a retrospective of her work. Now 93, Thelen has been making and exhibiting her art for the past 70 years.

The exhibition will fill four galleries at AWD, and include her painting, sculpture, printmaking, and scrolls. An entire gallery will feature her political and environmental art, including the series Planet Earth Screwed and Take Shelter from the News.

Phyllis Thelen’s art encourages us to think differently about our relationship to nature. Inspired by the organic materials she finds in the forests and on the beach, her work has unfolded in many phases. She began as a painter and printmaker, and then began to create the fiber sculptures for which she is best known. While Thelen has continued to experiment with materials and forms, all of her work is unified by her passion for defending, protecting, and celebrating nature.

Thelen, now 93, has continued to make art throughout her life. This is the first retrospective of her work. The exhibition is titled Coming Full Circle because Thelen’s work has developed in a series of widening circles. In recent years she has returned to her early days as a painter and printmaker, using these skills in a contemporary way. She explores themes of reinvention, transformation and sustainability by incorporating her older silkscreen and woodblock prints into new forms, including innovative scrolls and small vessels.

Thelen is an award-winning artist whose work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout California and in Japan.  Her fiber sculptures were featured in two solo museum shows: Spirit Vessels at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art and Journeys of the Imagination at the Morris Graves Museum of Art. This is the first retrospective of her work.  

The exhibition will also showcase a video about Thelen’s  life and work by award-winning documentary filmmaker Harris Cohen.  

Exhibition Curated by Carol Durham, Mary Edwards, and Max Thelen
Phyllis! video by Harris Cohen
The Voice of Mother Earth, audio installation by Natalie Mendes and Max Rehkopf, in the Underground Gallery
Installation by Chris West 


Phyllis Thelen:Coming Full Circle featured sponsors

                    Marin Arts

Phyllis Thelen Artist Talk Fundraiser Event
Friday, January 31, 2020, 6pm–8pm

Join us for an Artist Talk fundraising event on January 31, 2020, 6–8pm to honor the person who started it all: Phyllis Thelen, artist and founder of Art Works Downtown.
This special reception features Phyllis’ retrospective exhibition and will culminate with an artist talk giving insight into her inspiring process and vision.
Appetizers, champagne and bar, autographed catalogue, documentary viewing of Phyllis!, artist talk with Phyllis Thelen in discussion with Mary Edwards, PhD.
Tickets $100 (seating limited)

or by calling 415.451.8119

Phyllis Thelen:Coming Full Circle featured sponsors

                    Marin Arts