Charlie Pfeil and I are related by marriage. His daddy’s baby sister Ruth married my daddy’s brother, Daniel. Charlie is known about town for making small versions of local landmark buildings from painted plywood. He works on them the basement of his Dale Borough homestead. It is tidy and clean and, when Charlie is in production, it’s banging! With volume set to eleven, Tool, Metallica and Korn are in frequent rotation. He finds it relaxing and therapeutic. Four years ago, Charlie was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and creating these small buildings in his workshop while blasting heavy metal steadies his shaking hands. “I put the music on and start working and it stops, almost immediately.” I am amazed and inspired by Charlie’s focus. Habits of healing and creativity are performative and generative. I think his Stacked Abstractions illustrate that performativity. They carry the vibe of Charlie’s habits, just like his replicas of building scattered around town.
You can visit a baker’s dozen of Charlie Pfeil’s little buildings, and twice as many are held privately. There are four in downtown Johnstown from the By George Inn at the Stadium Pub and Grill, to the War Memorial – a model that required 500 hours of work to complete. Six places in Dale have reproductions by Charlie including Bantly Hardware (circa 1977), TNC Lounge, and BZ Pools. Three churches display his replicas: Beulah United Methodist Church in Dale, University Park Church of God in Richland, and St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Cresson. The Habitorium is preparing a map of all the venues that house his models.
Stacked Abstractions are made from the left over wood of Charlie’s buildings. He cuts the gleaned wood, then sands and paints the pieces balancing several together, seeming ready to tumble at any moment. Each unique Stacked Abstraction is priced between $10 and $15 and can be shipped.
3 Flashlight Gallery is selling other structures created by Charlie Pfeil including Christmas decorations for your tree and table, a sweet gingerbread house, and a trio of simple crosses. Please inquire with Jo at [email protected] about an array of buildings that Charlie has on hand, and for sale, that are not located in the gallery.