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Exhibition Opening: “Hotel Theory” by Bill Thelen

February 16, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Free and open to the public

Please join us for the opening celebration of Bill Thelen’s Hotel Theory. Hotel Theory is located in the Vault Gallery and will be on view until Summer 2018.

> RSVP and invite friends via Facebook

In preparation for Hotel Theory at 21c Durham, come visit Bill Thelen, visiting artist at The Rubenstein Arts Center at Duke (The Ruby). The Ruby is a new home for making art at Duke, and Durham’s newest public programs venue. Grand Opening Party for The Ruby is on Saturday, February 3, 2018 from 1-4 PM (free; no RSVP required). For this one day only, Bill Thelen’s pop-up art installation will expand—quite literally—on Biscuit Kitchen, a 2007 piece he made in collaboration with Raleigh artist Jerstin Crosby.

In 2016, Bill Thelen headed to the Obracodobra artist residency in Oaxaca, Mexico. The residency is housed within Casa Colonial, which also functions as a hotel. Thelen brought two seminal texts with him: the 19th-century French Symbolist novel A Rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain), by Joris-Karl Huysmans, and contemporary critic Wayne Koestenbaum’s Hotel Theory, a philosophical meditation on hotel living.

These books became launching points for works in which Thelen investigates identity and influence, history and the environment. Immersed in the colors and textures of the Oaxacan landscape, and facing middle age, Thelen was inspired to create a new body of work dominated by two prominent colors (el naranja and el turquesa), which, he says, “conceptualizes and cross-pollinates ideas about the interconnectivity of states of being with the environments that influence them.”

Set within what Thelen describes as “the unrestrained environment” of 21c’s vault gallery, Hotel Theory includes individual drawings, collaged works on paper using watercolors, ink and graphite drawings, and wall painting, along with a new wall drawing and a fiber piece that utilizes fabrics sourced from Raleigh Denim.

Bill Thelen is an artist, curator, and educator living in Raleigh, NC. He is the co-founder and former Director of Lump, a non-profit, project space located in downtown Raleigh. His work has been shown nationally and internationally, and has been reviewed in Frieze, The New York Times, Art in America, Time Out London, Sculpture, and other periodicals and online journals.


February 16, 2018
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free and open to the public
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