Saturday, September 21, 2013

Article on My Art Agenda

Read the article by journalist Axelle Simon discussing the exhibition, (Un)governed Spaces at Republic Gallery.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

(Un)governed Spaces Exhibition / Exposition @ Republic Gallery, Paris

(Un)governed Spaces
Gregory Thielker with Noah Coburn

Republic Gallery
38 rue Notre Dame de Nazareth

Saturday, August 31, 2013


This summer I returned to a place that captured my attention in Afghanistan a year and a half ago.  The former government office (and former hotel) in Istalif is unoccupied, unless you count bushels of grass and several charred cooking pots.  But the place still has a magnetism.  It became the subject of the first watercolor I did of Afghanistan, and then the first oil painting in the renamed series (Un)governed Spaces.  
In the image, we are looking out from the upper floors past a huge chunk of concrete wall dangling by the iron rebar still holding it in place.  This damage was caused during Afghanistan's civil war, and yet the building has not been rebuilt.  

This summer, I was overwhelmed to be in this place not only because of its character and historical resonance, but by memory of having painting it.  Building the image over several months, picking apart each facet of brick, or sky, had created a mental map of the place for me.  To see it in person was both jarring and familiar.
Here is a view from nearly the same angle from this summer.  The gardens are just out of view, but the container is visible as is a different car, from the first painting.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Essay Excerpt from Highway Catalog

Read an excerpt from the essay by Jeffry Cudlin: 
"Unfamiliar Territory "    By Jeffry Cudlin 
Gregory Thielker must love getting lost. Given his fastidious nature and his predilection for creating detailed, hyper-real paintings and drawings, one might expect that the artist would prefer a controlled, familiar work environment. Undoubtedly Mr. Thielker could develop a fine oeuvre just by focusing on the confines of his studio and his own backyard. After all, generations of gifted painters have stayed close to their native lands: from Constable, forever depicting the strip of Suffolk County where he was born and raised; to Cezanne, training his eye on Mont Sainte-Victoire and his home in Aix en Provence. 
But at every opportunity, Mr. Thielker has thrown himself into the far-flung and unfamiliar. From plein air painting at twilight in the snow and ice along Norway’s Gamle Strynefjellsveg, to residencies and special projects in El Salvador and Bagram, Afghanistan, Mr. Thielker has routinely packed up his tools and traveled for long stretches of time in places where the language, the climate, and the terrain have been entirely alien, if not forbidding. The result is a body of work buzzing with intense, heightened perceptions, yet confronting the viewer with reticent, unsentimental images that defy easy narrative associations. 
For "Highway", his recent project as a Fulbright scholar in India, the artist set out to systematically record dramatic changes along the Grand Trunk Road—South Asia’s longest and oldest road, dating back to the 16th century. The 918-mile portion of the route that connected Delhi and Kolkata has in recent years been transformed into National Highway 2, a sleek four-lane superhighway carrying speeding cars through sleepy villages. The road now embodies the contradictions of a country hungry for modernity but still defined by its ancient traditions, ramshackle infrastructure, and poverty. 
While working on the project, Mr. Thielker behaved more like a researcher or amateur ethnographer than a painter’s painter. With the help of interpreters, the artist recorded interviews with truck drivers, schoolteachers, and random passers-by, asking questions about how the new road impacted their communities—and often receiving unexpected or inscrutable responses. In the eyes of those who live near it, either the road will change everything…or it is emblematic of how nothing in India will ever really change..."
Jeffry Cudlin is a writer, artist, curator, and professor of curatorial studies at Maryland Institute College of Art.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Arrival in Paris

I recently arrived in Paris and met with Republic Gallery director, Benjamin Derouillon, in preparation for my September exhibition, (Un)governed Spaces with Noah Coburn.  Thankfully, the canvas/linen and wooden stretchers made it safely (after being checked by US customs!).  Paintings got assembled smoothly and are waiting to be hung.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The book is in

For the upcoming exhibit at Republic Gallery, I produced a book with text by my collaborator, Noah Coburn.  Its a nice alternation between text and image.  Copies will be available at the gallery.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The wall as curtain

Here is a preparatory view of "Mud compound, Bagram", the piece  I developed for our faculty exhibition, Dialogue Past, Present, Future, at The College of New Jersey.  Its acrylic on cotton curtain in 3 panels- developed from one of the images from my first site visit to Afghanistan in 2012.  The mud wall surrounds a family compound that is typical in Afghanistan where a tall wall encloses interior family structures so that no outsiders can enter unannounced.  This feels intimidating from the outside, but provides security and intimacy for the family members within.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Afghanistan work

This summer, I traveled to Afghanistan again to meet my friend and collaborator Noah Coburn.  The trip yielded a number of great research opportunities- images, libraries, and access to some great locations.  We are excited about the upcoming exhibition at the Republic Gallery entitled (Un)governed Spaces.  We chose the title based on its usage in military and policy reports about post-conflict territories.