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Wallace Peck: Works on Paper

Liz Trapp Liz Trapp Wallace Peck: Works on PaperSee Wallace Peck's latest artwork at Open Door Art Studio & Gallery through today, Friday April 1, 2016. Featured image: Trophy Buck.
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Wallace Peck, described in his artist biography as always-smiling and filled with boundless joy, embodies the mission of Open Door Art Studio in his current solo exhibition at the studio’s gallery.

To begin with, Peck’s work output is tremendous.  Prolific, even.  His twenty-five charcoal, graphite, and pastel drawings on display feel as though they are just the tip of the iceberg.  Peck’s paintings, which continue down a hallway running tandem to the gallery space but not part of the exhibition, gives the viewer cause to believe that for Peck, creating art is lifeblood.

Peck’s work features a similar and expressionistic character which is squeezed into each frame. This character – drawn with layers of quick lines, often with a large head, tiny body, and excessively large doe eyes – is strikingly similar in each of the drawings, regardless if the title connotes it to be an animal or human.

Mother Mary Chalk pastel, charcoal, graphite

Mother Mary
Chalk pastel, charcoal, graphite

And this is where Peck’s humor lies.

With a blithe and lighthearted tone, Peck’s works cover a few thematic points.  Dominating the exhibition is Peck’s figurative work and although titles like Spring Break or Scientist or Ya Ya might indicate they are different subjects, the characters appear to be nearly identical.

It’s almost as though we are following one character through a myriad of social roles in society.

Mother Mary and Guardian Angel are two works which add a spiritual thread to Peck’s exhibition.  Mother Mary contains many elements you would see in depictions of the Virgin Mary throughout history; the blue robe, radiating halo, and her position as a dominant figure in the picture plane.  But Peck’s Virgin has an unexpected beat to it.  Her head is cocked slightly to the side, her oversized inky black and grey eyes seem hollowed and desperate, her tiny arms hang limp from awkward corners of her body, and she is all but smashed into the picture plane.

Then there are the animal portraits which range from an unbelievably sad, strung out looking, anxious and adorable Pet Parrot, to the larger-than-life Trophy Buck, to El Toro, an animal I’m not sure I can place, but one which looks like a monster plush toy.

Peck’s work isn’t just adorable or expressionistic or emotional – he has filled the gallery space with characters which are brimming with personality and seem to carry on a life of their own.

The joy, humor, and lightheartedness captured in Peck’s works are indicative of the creative and safe space Open Door Art Studio has created.

Guardian Angel Chalk pastel, charcoal, graphite 2016

Guardian Angel
Chalk pastel, charcoal, graphite
2016

Open Door Art studio is a unique gallery and workshop space located in Grandview Heights.  Their mission is to empower artists with disabilities to develop unique, artistic voices.  This space – which is part gallery, part workshop, part studio – is loaded with joy and creative energy which is only punctuated by Wallace Peck’s exhibition.

You can see Wallace Peck’s exhibition through this Friday, April 1 at Open Door Art Studio in Grandview Heights and they are open Monday – Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm.  Please visit their website or Facebook page for more information on Wallace Peck’s exhibition and upcoming shows www.facebook.com/OpenDoorArtStudio. Or visit opendoorartstudio.org.

Mother Mary
Chalk pastel, charcoal, graphite
2016

Guardian Angel
Chalk pastel, charcoal, graphite
2016

Trophy Buck
Chalk pastel, charcoal, graphite
2016

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