Project Description

b. 1943, Waseca, MN

In the fields of sculpture and drawing, George Thiewes creates sharp, angular work with a focus on the interaction of light and dark.  That interest began in the 1990s while Thiewes was working on theatrical set designs, where he had to learn to create the illusion of space through lighting. Thiewes’ sculptures are mounted on or in the wall and painted the same color as the gallery, making them hardly noticeable, except for their cast shadows.  The sculptures exist autonomously, while also defining and interacting with the surrounding space through their placement and the use of shadow.  Thiewes explores shadow as a sculptural medium; specifically how the work changes throughout the course of a day as both the natural and artificial light change in intensity, temperature, and direction.  The angles created by light and shadow give the appearance of folds, an illusion that Thiewes also investigates in his drawings.

George Thiewes attended several colleges in the Midwest before receiving his BFA from Mankato State College and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.  After graduate school Thiewes had a successful career as a glass artist and was part of the studio glass movement of the 1960s and 1970s before turning to sculpture in the mid-1980s.  His work is included in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA; Toledo Museum of Art; Arkansas Art Center; Rochester Institute of Technology; among others.

Master of Fine Arts, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Mankato State College, Mankato, MN
Studied at Art Institute of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Studied at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Studied at St. Cloud State College, St. Cloud, MN
Studied at University of Northern Illinois, Dekalb, IL

Penland Grant, Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts
Vermont Council on the Arts Grant Co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts
Arts Fellowship Grant, National Endowment for the Arts
Art Park in Buffalo, NY, Co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council for the Arts

2019 In the Absence of Color, Bentley Gallery, Phoenix, AZ
2016 Poetic Minimalism, Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ
2016 Off the Wall, Bentley Gallery, Phoenix, AZ
2008 EVO Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2007 Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ
1982 Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY
1982 Glass America, Lever House, New York, NY
1982 Collector’s Choice, Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, NY
1982 American Glass Art: Evolution and Revolution, Morris Museum of Arts and Sciences, Morristown, NJ
1981 Contemporary Art Glass, New York, NY
1981 Glass Art Gallery, Toronto, Canada
1981 Works in Glass, Fox Fine Arts Center, El Paso, TX
1980 Contemporary Glass in America, Oklahoma Art Center, Oklahoma City, OK
1980 Contemporary Glass in America, Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, AR
1980 For the Tabletop, Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, NY
1979 The Vice President’s Collection, Washington, DC
1979 Glass Veranda, Boston, MA
1977 Art of American Craftsmen, Saks Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
1975 Works Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Russo, Kim, Playing in the Shadows, Art Envelope, Oct 10, 2008.
Abatemarco, Michael, Excuse me your penumbra is showing, Pasatiempo, Sept 5-11, 2008.
King, Sarah S., Art Reviews, Art in America, March 2008
Emerling, Susan, Art Reviews, ARTnews, pg. 209, Summer 2007.
George Thiewes: Expanding the Sculptural Field, Exhibition Catalogue, Phoenix Art Museum, Foreword by James K. Ballinger and Essay by Brady Roberts
Pasatiempo, No such thing as negative space, April 13-19, 2007

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA
Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH
The Patrick Lannon Foundation, Palm Beach, FL
Fleming Museum of Art, Burlington, VT
Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Art, Neenah, WI
Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, AK
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
The Lannan Foundation, Santa Fe, NM
Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ
Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ

Art Envelope: Playing in the Shadows
When one is standing just outside the gallery’s front door and peering inside, Thiewes’ works appear to be singular large, gray lines drawn across the gallery’s white walls. When one walks into the space, the drawings transform into sculptures: long, thin slats of white painted steel protruding from the walls, casting deep shadows. The shadows are louder and more dynamic than the objects themselves. From a distance, these sculptures seem to be undulations in the walls, seams perhaps.

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