Charles Emlen

Contact Information

chasemlen@gmail.com

Phone: (610) 348-3956

https://www.emlen.com

Studio & Gallery

1692 Sheeder Mill Road, Spring City, PA 19475

Please contact artist for purchases, commissions, etc.

Sculpture

Artist's Biography

Charles Emlen was born and raised in Paoli, Pennsylvania. He received his BFA in sculpture from Pennsylvania State University in 1981, and his MFA in sculpture from Arizona State University in 1984. After leaving ASU he worked for several years as a sculptor’s assistant with Arizona artist Michael Anderson. In 1987 he returned to Pennsylvania where he built a sculpture studio and for the next twelve years worked on sculpture commissions and custom metal work. During this time he also worked as an electrician and CNC programmer. In 1999 Emlen took a position at a local avionics company and spent the next 18 years as a software engineer, designing and programing aircraft flight display graphics. In 2017 he retired from the avionics industry and has since been devoting mostof his time to sculpture, machine art, and site specific installation.

Artist's Statement

Not unlike the Futurists of early twentieth century, I find a great deal of beauty in a well-built machine. Its movement, structure and synchronization leave me with feelings of strength and continuity. Even more than a machine’s design, I am especially interested in its implied function. A question I often ask myself is, ‘what does this thing look like it’s supposed to do’?

Instead of designing a machine that has a particular purpose, I’m drawn to building one that only appears to have a purpose; one that suggests some obscure function that may never quite reveal itself.

I like to say that form follows fiction, and as such, I seek to voice that fleeting sense of purpose, or, the suggestion of some yet untapped pseudo technical methodology. To me, everything is fiction, metaphor... allusion.


 
I’m fascinated by systems and technology, the way things work, evolution, massively large numbers, complex algorithms, the human brain, entropy, eternity, language, sex, disease, animals, economies, and the functional aspects of just about every part of this great, big, wonderful thing we call reality. It’s true, my work does tend towards the technological, but that’s just the way I choose to communicate. What and how I think is largely based in science. I can’t help but see the physical world as an endless field of size, scale, complexity and granularity. The universe is at once infinitely large and infinitely small. From the farthest reaches of the cosmos to the most diminutively infinitesimal corner of sub-atomic space, a diverse complexity reigns.

Selected Exhibitions

Solo
2021
The Unruly Persistence of Suburbo Ritualistic Paganism, Birchrunville, PA
Installation of light, sound, motion, music, and fire

Pandelusional Blooms, Chester County Art Association, West Chester, PA

2020
Misguided Ritualism and the Tedious Mythology of Unnecessary Things, Birchrunville, PA
Kinetic installation and machine performance

2019
Regressive Continuities, Awbury Arboretum, Philadelphia, PA

Primitive Methodologies of Inscrutable Design, Community Arts Phoenixville, Phoenixville, PA

A Quixotic Convergence of Whimsically Subversive Eccentricities, Birchrunville, PA
Kinetic installation

2018
A Luminously Divergent Spectacle of Improbably Heteromorphic Perplexity, Birchrunville, PA
Kinetic installation

Two-Person
2018
The Loft @ 505, Reading, PA
With Michele Byrne

Group
2022
Believe in Tomorrow, Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA

16th Annual National Outdoor Sculpture Competition, Riverfront Park, North Charleston, SC

Like Clockwork, Vestige Concept Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

2021
Best of the East Coast, 311 Gallery, Raleigh, NC

Sculpture in the Glen III, InLiquid at the Burches, Gladwyne, PA

An Exhibition of Things Called Art, Hilliard Gallery, Kansas City, MO

The Shape of Tomorrow, InLiquid at Park Towne Place, Philadelphia, PA

The Woodmere Annual 79th Juried Exhibition, The Woodmere Museum, Philadelphia, PA
Rescheduled from 2020

2020
Sculpture in the Glen II, InLiquid at the Burches, Gladwyne, PA

2020 BOA National Juried Exhibition, Craven Arts Council & Gallery, New Bern, NC

19th Annual Juried Exhibition, New Hope Arts, New Hope, PA

The Phoenix Show: Inner Visions, The Conservatory, Doylestown, PA

2019
Birchrunville Art Tour, Birchrunville, PA

11th Annual Juried Art Show, Riverviews Artspace, Lynchburg, VA

5th Annual National Juried Exhibition, Oxford Arts Alliance, Oxford, PA

Red, Arts Illiana Gallery, Terre Haute, IN

Rust to Rise, Community Arts Phoenixville, Phoenixville, PA
Juried exhibition

7th Annual Juried Exhibition, Cerulean Arts, Philadelphia, PA

31st Annual Juried Exhibition of the Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Council, Texarkana, TX

The Woodmere Annual 78th Juried Exhibition, The Woodmere Museum, Philadelphia, PA

Sculpture in the Glen, InLiquid at the Burches, Gladwyne, PA

Artists Equity 70th Anniversary Members Juried Exhibition, GoggleWorks, Reading, PA

One Year Anniversary Juried Exhibition, Paragon Gallery, Phoenixville, PA

Round Things, Square Pear Gallery, Kennett Square, PA

2018
Glow, Annual Members Show, Studio B, Boyertown, PA

Pottstown Area Arts Guild Winter Show, Montgomery County Community College, Pottstown, PA

Birchrunville Art Detour, Birchrunville, PA

63rd Open Juried Exhibition, Perkiomen Valley Art Center, Pottstown, PA

2018 Juried Show, Abington Art Center, Jenkintown, PA

2018 Annual Juried Exhibition, Perkins Center for the Arts, Moorestown, NJ

Art of Film, Studio B, Boyertown, PA

Members Show, Oxford Arts Alliance, Oxford, PA

The Locals, Community Arts Phoenixville, Phoenixville, PA

Connective Arts & Music Festival, Oxford, PA

40th Annual Open Exhibition, Salmagundi Club, New York, NY

Awards & Honors

2020
2020 BOA National Juried Exhibition, Craven Arts Council & Gallery, New Bern, NC
Best in Category for Sculpture

The Phoenix Show: Inner Visions, The Conservatory, Doylestown, PA
2nd Place Award

2019
11th Annual Juried Art Show, Riverviews Artspace, Lynchburg, VA
2nd Place Award

Red, Arts Illiana Gallery, Terre Haute, IN
Honorable Mention

31st Annual Juried Exhibition of the Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Council, Texarkana, TX
2nd Place Award

The Woodmere Annual 78th Juried Exhibition, The Woodmere Museum, Philadelphia, PA
Jacques MacQuiston Dowling Award

2018
63rd Open Juried Exhibition, Perkiomen Valley Art Center, Pottstown, PA
3rd Place Award for Sculpture

Greater Norristown Art League, Norristown, PA
Mary Benfield Memorial Award

Wheels Exhibition, Studio B Gallery, Boyertown, PA
Artistic Excellence Award

Residencies

2018
Testing Lab Artist Residency, San Pedro, CA

Education

1984
Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
MFA

1981
Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
BFA