July 2018

Hayley Madden, Digital Media Coordinator

Artist Bio: Gregory Thielker

Gregory Thielker, Low Road, 2006, Oil on canvas, 36” x 48”

At first glance, you might think you are looking at a photograph. It is, in fact, an oil painting by hyperrealist artist Gregory Thielker. Low Road is part of a series, Under the Unminding Sky, of photorealist paintings that depict various views through a rainy car windshield. The series reflects the artist’s interest in the way the road defines and controls how we experience landscape. Thielker explains, “I use water on the windshield to create a shifting lens for the way we see our environment: It both highlights and obscures our viewing.” Born in 1979, Thielker lives and works in New York City and has been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad.


Hayley Madden; Photograph by Kate Cauthen

Gregory Thielker’s Under the Unminding Sky is a series of twenty-two hyperrealistic oil paintings. The pieces are united by an ‘in-looking-out’ theme and share the common element of a water-covered windshield that distorts the landscape beyond. Low Road immediately stands out to me because I find myself lending more attention to the familiar experience of being ‘in’ rather than the landscape, or what is ‘out’.

Consider those big fat raindrops—you know exactly how they sound when they hit your windshield. The reliable whoosh (or stutter, if you’ve got a car like mine) of the wiper blades is imminent. The cracked window offers relief from the humidity and allows you to hear the hissing sound of cars driving on wet pavement. You anticipate the first notes of the next track on the mix CD that has been in the player for six years and hum them prematurely. I know you do this because I do this; I’m convinced it is a nearly universal experience.

I’ve often wondered if there’s a German word to describe the feeling that comes along with driving down one’s own personal Low Road during a summer rain. It seems like a moment worthy of its own unique descriptor. I’m so grateful for Thielker, his exceptional skill, and his decision to capture the Low Road experience.

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