Ted Thirlby was born in 1948 and raised in Traverse City, Michigan. He received a BA from Macalester College in St Paul, Minnesota in 1970 and studied painting at the graduate school of the University of Iowa until 1972. That year, during the Vietnam War, he was classified as a Conscientious Objector and performed two years alternate service working as an organizer and trainer at the Iowa City Crisis Center. Thirlby moved to New York City in 1975 to continue making art and thrived in a career in construction for 40 years.
His current series is of minimalistic and ethereally painted works on found plywood. Informed by the reclaimed wood, Thirlby strikes a balance between subject and support with one informing the other. Lustrous gold crescents and globes are orbited by bands of delicate color, all speaking to and floating within the organic shapes of the plywood surface. With titles like Muladharaor Root Chakra, spirituality, harmony, and a semblance of sacred geometry are ingrained in the paintings. Thirlby explains, “The plywood is already fully loaded with its own history and energy. It is not a blank canvas. The changing wood grain patterns, the cracks and chips and jagged edges are the residue of a previous life and use.... It’s a process of rescue, respect, reuse, resurrection, and perhaps redemption.”
Thirlby’s work can be found in the corporate collections of the Avon Foundation and AT&T Long Lines. Ted Thirlby has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, OK Harris, Lichtundfire Gallery, 22 Wooster Gallery, and many more.
January 10 - February 6, 2019