Born in 1950, Charles Thysell grew up in Hawley, Minnesota, a small town of some 1,400 people. His father was a country doctor and his mother an accomplished singer and housewife who nourished his interest in a life of art. His hometown helped shape his appreciation for nature and the basic values people hold dear.
After studying art in Minneapolis, he concluded that school was not for him. He struck out as a song writer-performer in the turbulent seventies, and when that ran its course, dedicated ten years to working with non-profit artist organizations as a widely recognized advocate and teacher. All the while he continued to draw and paint. His work – ranging from still lifes to landscapes to “Heads” – inevitably found its way to museum exhibits and gallery shows. Its warm-hearted, unpretentious style and quiet integrity has won a national following.
Of the present exhibit, Charlie has this to say:
“I think that people today are looking for value in their lives and appreciating the simple things that have value. We are all together. We are all in the same boat now and feeling for each other. We are poorer but don’t necessarily live poorer. People are finding value in their own backyards, doing things together. There is more appreciation of the best things in life – your partner, your friends, your children, your pets, your home, your garden.
“My wish is to coax people into identifying with simple things. I don’t do a lot of splash. It isn't going to jump out at you. My work is just there. Inviting, I hope, but not the kind of thing you have to struggle with to have that ‘aha’. The ‘aha’ is right there. At hand. Understood.
“We are affected by art, and I want to pull a few more people into the eye of the storm where it is quiet. It’s ok to be buffeted by the wind; that’s going to happen in life and some good can come of it. But I want the pieces in this show to be very homely, simple, and close by.”
The most recent exhibition brings us a collection of Thysell's beloved "Heads". Unlike most portraits that seem to stare out at you and try to speak to you, Thysell's "Heads" in their consumate warmth, simplicity, and sensitivity, seem to listen to you. They are good listeners. At the same time, they are magically beautiful paintings, whether done cubistically, impressionistically, or realistically. Charles Thysell is not only one of our most humanistic artists, he is also one of our most accomplished painters.