|Birth: ||Apr. 9, 1960|
|Death: ||Sep. 12, 1998|
This gent was an old school chum of mine, in many of my classes through elementary and junior high school. He was quirky and fun, and had a great sense of humor. He, like me, was one of our fifth grade teacher's favorites, and was often called "Sechy", pronounced with a "k" sound, like his last name is said, Seck-ler. All the girls has crushes on Sechy back then for his sense of fun and great sandy hair. He was good at kickball too, and so full of life, it's hard to believe he left us young. As long as I knew him, it was a surprise to me to learn after his death that he'd been quietly working as an artist.
Timothy S. Sechler, 38, of Allentown died Saturday, Sept. 12, in Lehigh Valley Hospital, Salisbury Township.
He was a general contractor for Sechler Construction for many years and a roofer for Whitaker Roofing and Siding Inc., both in Allentown.
Born in Allentown, he was a son of Barbara May (Creveling) Sechler, with whom he resided, and the late Thomas W. Sechler Sr.
Survivors: Mother; brothers, Capt. Thomas W. Jr. of Crofton, Md., and Terrence C. and John T., both of Allentown; sisters, Deborah C. Willistein at home, and Abigail, wife of Duane Repko of Annapolis, Md.
Memorial services: 11 a.m. Thursday, J.S. Burkholder Funeral Home, 16th and Hamilton streets, Allentown. Call 10:30-11 a.m. Thursday.
OPEN SPACE OPENS TIMOTHY SECHLER'S PRIVATE WORLD
Three weeks before he died of a brain aneurysm, 38-year-old Timothy Sechler began to paint night and day.
Says his brother John, "He painted as if he had a fever, with a frenzy that makes me think of Van Gogh. It was almost as if he knew that he would die soon."
Sechler died on Sept. 12, 1998, leaving behind in his studio a large body of work that had never been exhibited or shown to anyone but his family.
An exhibition of 40 of his works opens with a reception at 6:30 p.m. today at Open Space Gallery, Allentown.
"His work is really a body of fantasy pieces that are slightly reminiscent of the work of Chagall," says Julius Vitale, Open Space executive director who curated the show.
"He was a naive artist. He never had any lessons, and I don't think that he knew much about art. He just had all this energy and had to paint."
Sechler's paintings reveal an artist whose imagination was filled with playful images of folk figures flying through space, angelic musicians and the mysterious imaginings of his brain. He used a strong palette of vibrant colors as a way to convey his often turbulent emotions. In so doing, he followed in the footsteps of other primitive artists.
"Tim was self-taught. He never studied art or music," says his brother, a teacher at Central Elementary School in Allentown.
"He never showed us any of his work. He never thought that his work was good enough to show."
The idea for the exhibit came about when Sechler family friend Tracy Englund approached Vitale and suggested that he come to the Sechler home and look at Tim's work.
"I was very impressed," says Vitale. "He had a large body of very colorful, playful and imaginative paintings. I thought that they would make a good show."
"Tim always had this gift," says Sechler. "He was interested in poetry, music and art. He was a quiet person and lived in his own private world.
"It wasn't until he died that we realized how many paintings he had painted. He just lived to paint, and in the end that was the way he died.
"He never dreamed of selling any of his work and neither do we. We just plan to keep his paintings in the family."
The exhibit marks the third time that Open Space Gallery has held a memorial show for an Allentown artist. The first show honored the work of Greg Weaver, a pioneer in the "downtown movement" of the 1970s to mid-'80s alternative arts scene in downtown Allentown. The second such show was held in 1998 for the work of the late Lou Carstater.
"We've become a voice for the artists of the area, and we think that holding exhibitions like this is part of our service to the area," explains Vitale.
Open Space has been a strong downtown Allentown presence since the early 1980s when it was founded in an upstairs loft in the 800 block of Hamilton Street. Since then, although it has changed directors and addresses several times, it has never swerved from its mission as a gathering place for the Lehigh Valley's alternative arts, whether gallery work, music or performance art. The latest location has given Open Space 1,000 additional square feet of exhibit space.
Last spring, the gallery was the site for Mayfair's visual arts exhibit. Plans are under way for Mayfair's 2000 visual arts and crafts exhibit to also be held at Open Space.
"Timothy S. Sechler: Memorial Exhibition of Paintings," reception 6:30-9 p.m. today, Open Space Gallery, 931 Hamilton St., Allentown. Free. The exhibit continues 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday through Dec. 23, 1999.
Created by: sr/ks
Record added: Feb 23, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 34138522