Thelma Appel Biography

American contemporary artist, Thelma Appel is a LANDSCAPE painter and printmaker.

The central subject in her work is landscape. Landscape painting, and in fact most painting, has historically been treated as foreground, middleground and background. Appel's paintings, however, destroy the illusion of space. Instead, her filaments and shapes float on the surface of the canvass in a charming network of gauzy intricacies.

The various ideas about how to represent three dimensional form on a two dimensional picture plane have preoccupied artists since the Renaissance. Modern painting especially has explored and redefined the representation of value in space. No sooner was one pictorial mode explored than it was challenged. Most recently the idea of foreground and background in painting was entirely destroyed by a group of painters known as minimalists. The canvasses of these painters are usually severe and the shapes geometric. In many paintings the play between foreground and background is shattered, reduced to one plane only.

Appel's easy un-selfconscious works seem to have little relationship to this school of painting, however, they are a logical development of the thinking of the minimalists. The fragmentation of poorly defined shapes and the sameness of color and tonality make for painting in which forms seem to float on one plane rather than recede into the background. This forms the kind of relationships common to much minimal painting.

Appel's originality lies in the irony of her having chosen landscapes to express her ideas. Like many young painters, Appel is reacting to the spare palette and form which prevailed only a few years ago.

While it is true that these paintings are intellectual, it is also true that they're romantic pieces, poetic expressions of a feminine sensibility. The filmy colors are marvelous and fresh and the artist's feather-light touch brushes the canvass, enfusing it with lush texture.

A selected list of her EXHIBITIONS is as follows:

  • 1979: Fischbach Gallery, New York

  • 1977: Gallery 2, Woodsfock, Vermont Thorne-Sagendort Art Center, Keene State University, N.H.

  • 1975: Williams College Museum of Art, Williams, Mass.

  • 1974: Gov. Park-McCullough Foundation Exhibition, Bennington, Vt.

  • 1973: Robert Hull Fleming Museum, Burlington, Vt.

  • 1973-75: Komblee Gallery, New York

  • 1970: Bennington College, Bennington, Vt.