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Sculptor Charles Fahlen died


Charles Fahlen, 70, died July 27 at his home in Guerneville, California from pancreatic cancer, according to a notice from Steven Wolf Fine Arts, his gallery in San Francisco.

Charles Fahlen’s work in Fleisher-Ollman’s Cave Paintings show in 2008. Photo by Roberta.

I am including the parts of the notice that seem especially pertinent:

Fahlen spent most of his professional career in Philadelphia, where he taught at Moore College of Art and Design, and foraged the city’s now vanished industrial supply district for the raw materials in his work.

…He was included in the 1973 Whitney Biennial, and in 1991 he had a solo project at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, where he used sculpture to explore the American Western landscape as exotic other, myth and entertainment. His work can be found in numerous private and museum collections across the United States.

After retiring from Moore College in 2000, Fahlen returned to Northern California where he was raised. Inspired by the newly visible night sky, he began to craft jewel-like depictions of the cosmos using brass rods, chain link, and cast pigment epoxy spheres. Always toying with meaning and representation, he gave them ominous titles like, Foretelling Floods, Signs in the Sky and Unexplained Mysteries.

The works were themselves unexplained mysteries. I remember at Locks Gallery (2003) a bunch of cosmic anti-orreries similar to the one above,  and at the ICA (1991), slabs of rocks attached to clothes-dryer-like armatures–comic Rockies.