Terry Parmelee Biography

Terry Parmelee




Printmaker and painter Terry Parmalee was born Theodora Lillian Schreiber in Madison, Wisconsin in 1929, to German immigrant parents who met at the University of Wisconsin. Her parents first disapproved of her desire to pursue art, and instead to studied medicine at Washington University, St. Louis, MO; transferring to the University of Kansas, Lawrence, she changed her major to zoology. In 1949 she took an elective oil painting class, reviving her interest in art, though it wasn't until 1955 that she began seriously pursuing art once more. She graduated with her BA in zoology in 1950, as an honor student.

In 1955 relocated to Tokyo, Japan with her husband and children and began private lessons in woodblock printmaking from the printmaker Un'Ichi Hiratsuka. Greatly inspired, she continued to work in the medium for the three years she lived in Japan until her return to the U.S., at which point she began instructing herself in Abstract painting. In 1966 she traveled overseas once more, studying privately with color woodcut artist Carol Summers (1925-2016) in Paris, France, and renting a studio space at the famed Atelier 17 experimental printmaking workshop for one year. This period of time would be especially pivotal for Parmelee, embracing the bold, jewel-toned style of Summers and the freedom she found in experimenting with mediums. In the following ten years Parmelee developed a strong reputation for her large color woodcuts throughout the U.S. Upon her return to the U.S., Parmelee earned her MFA in painting from American University, Washington, D.C.

From 1966 to 1999 Terry Parmelee created 122 original prints. She taught woodcut techniques at Montgomery College in Maryland (1969-1977) and at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC (1972-1973). 

In addition to her career as an artist and teacher, she broke barriers as a part of the male-dominated Washington Color School, though in the usual fashion her work was not upheld with as much fervor as her male counterparts. Until recently, Parmelee's work has flown under the radar. Recent shows have unveiled her work as among the most innovative of her time. Parmelee has participated in several exhibitions, such as The Ukraine-American Graphic Arts Symposium (1995) and The National Museum of Women in the Arts (1996). Her original woodcuts and paintings are included in the following collections; The University of Delaware, IBM, the First National Bank of Chicago, Smith, Kline Corporation, the Corcoran Gallery, Georgetown University and the National Museum of Art, Washington, DC. As of 2022, she continues to work and a retrospective of her is held at Pazo Fine Art gallery. In 2003 the book, Terry Parmelee Prints, 1966-1999: A Catalogue Raisonne (edited by Patricia La Liberte), was published.

Selected solo exhibitions:
2022: Wave Songs: Terry Parmelee's Work of the Eighties, Pazo Fine Art, Kensington, MD
2021: Cassat to Chicago: A Celebration of Women Artists, Acaemy Art Museum, MD
2006: Daryl Rubenstein Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1993: Flight of Spirit, Jane Haslem Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1985: Washington Printmakers Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1978: Annhurst College, CT; Goshen College, IN
1977: Galeria d'Arte Davanzati di Susan Loeb, Florence, Italy; Madams Organ Art Cooperative, Washington, D.C.
1974: Apogee Gallery, Princeton, NJ

Selected group exhibitions:
2016: Color in Relief, Fairchild Memorial Gallery, Georgetown Univ., Washington, D.C.
1995: Global Focus: Women in Art and Culture, Beijing, China; Artist Reflects Society, Jane Haslem Gallery, Washington, D.C.; First International Ukrainian-American Graphics Symposium, Kyiv, Ukraine
1978: Washington Printmakers, Jane Haslem Gallery; Printmakers Show, Washington Women's Art Center, Wash., D.C.
1977: Athenaeum Area Show, Alexandria, VA
1976: One for One invitational, Washington Women's Art Center, Wash., D.C.; The Great Bi-Centenniel Rip-Off, Studio Gallery, Wash., D.C.; Up the Monument, Foundry Gallery, Wash., D.C.; Washington Area Printmakers, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Wash., D.C.
1975: Washington Color Prints, Athenaeum Museum; McLean Gallery, McLean, VA (with Hunt Prothro)
1972: Creative Washington Artists Today, Corcoran Gallery, Wash., D.C.; Women in the Arts, Hom Gallery, Bethesda, MD

Awards and recognition:
2005: Winner, design competition for the 75th Anniversary of the National Synmphony Orchestra, painting: "Symphony"
1976, 1979: Selected for publication by the Associated American Artists, New York
1969: Selected for publication, International Graphic Art Society