Sand papers abrade photographic images. Varnishes and shellacs add eerie luster to transparent photocopied images warped and wrinkled by a heat gun. The hardware store tools and finishes that surrounded Christopher Pekoc—art studio part-time lecturer at Case Western Reserve University—as he grew up in his family's Cleveland hardware stores, have found new uses. The manipulation of these tools over the past 40 years has inspired the work of one of Cleveland's leading artists.
The Case Western Reserve University community will have the opportunity to view Pekoc's paintings, drawings and collages when the Convivium33 Gallery at Josaphat Arts Hall (1433 East 33rd Street), in cooperation with Bonfoey Gallery, launches the exhibit, "Christopher Pekoc 1964-2006." The show opens at 6 p.m. with a public reception on Friday, December 8, and continues through January 21, 2007.
Gallery visitors will have the opportunity to view a number of works that have been in private collections and out of the public view for many years. The exhibit's curator, Case art historian and professor Henry Adams, has selected works that reflect the artist's development, including Pekoc's early drawings, airbrushed paintings and his now well-known stitched works that surfaced in the 1970s and later advanced in the 1980s. These stitched works came about from Pekoc's experimentation with photography in Case's old photo lab in Wickenden Hall.
"Clearly from a young age, Chris exhibited artistic talent," says Adams. "He has created significant individual pieces, but this show will be an opportunity to see the volume of this talent."
Pekoc creates much of his art in his basement studio in Tremont, where the walls are filled with image fragments of hands, eyes, doodles and magazine clippings. Some visitors have likened Pekoc's studio space to "Frankenstein's laboratory, where corpses are sewn together into strange half-human creatures," states Adams.
"There is also something dark, tough and roughly textured about Pekoc's work that captures the creative essence of Cleveland," Adams says. "His imagery is both repressed and intensely sensual."
The artist created one of Cleveland's landmarks in his mural "Night Sky" in the main hall of Cleveland Main Library on Superior. His works are in major public collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Czech Center of Photography, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and Harvard's Fogg Art Museum.
One of his major works was purchased by Case and now hangs in the Kent Hale Smith Building, home of the macromolecular science and engineering department.
The Bonfoey Gallery in Cleveland has represented Pekoc for the past 30 years in Northeast Ohio. He also is represented by John Stevenson Gallery in New York City.
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.