the artist

Charles Fahlen

Photo Credit: Peter Lester

Charles Fahlen

San Francisco, CA

Charles Fahlen

My work embodies contrasts - austere and comic, personal and cultural, of monumental and human scale. It speaks metaphorically of my abiding lifelong fascination with the landscape of the American West. Images formed during my boyhood, "discovery" of the West and Southwest, have made their way into much of the art that I have produced in the last few years. In my individual sculptural pieces, l distill the somewhat haphazard forms of nature's monuments to a pristine geometry and reduce their size to human scale. By making use of industrial materials, I further urbanize these natural forms. Although they refer to nature, the final products look more like industrial fragments mixing the realms of nature and culture. In guiding this transformation, I try to bring order and control to potent images from my childhood. My work pays tribute to, domesticates, and memorializes images of the American landscape.  Behind the appreciation and reverie lie an undeniable feeling of loss as industrial culture encroaches on the natural world.

Fast Facts

Name: Charles Fahlen


Place of Birth: San Francisco, CA

California State University at San Francisco, 1962, BAFA;
Otis Art Institute, 1965; MFA;
The Slade School, University of London, GB, 1967

Significant or special training:
Atelier 17, Paris, France, 1965, (Intaglio), 1965; Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, Netherlands (Lithography)

Notable or memorable instructors or mentors:
Sculptor Seymour Locks and Printmaker John Ihle, both at California State University at San Francisco.

Particular field of study or class work:
Sculpture & Printmaking

Major influences/admired artists:
Klee; Picasso; Dubuffet; Calder; Brancusi; Moore; David Smith; Eva Hesse; Richard Tuttle; Martin Puryear; Donald Judd; Joel Shapiro’s (early work); Michael Heizer; Joseph Beuys; and outsider artists

Favorite materials or media:
Books; especially novels about explorers and the South-West or Science Fiction; The New Yorker magazine; Films.

School or university affiliation (when Convention Center acquired artwork):
Moore College of Art and Design, 1967-2000

Gallery Representation (when Convention Center acquired artwork):
Lawrence Oliver Gallery, Philadelphia

Stay in Touch

Sign up to receive news about the PCC Art Collection at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.