Peter Flaccus: Recent Paintings
From July 19 - August 20, 2004 Zabriskie Gallery exhibits the recent encaustic paintings by American artist Peter Flaccus. Included in the show is a single large composition comprised of multiple individual panels, along with a number of small paintings. In contrast to his earlier paintings, which are dominated by a subtle palette of neutral colors, this exhibition reveals the artist's dynamic color sensibility, which bursts forth from these colorful paintings.
After moving to Rome in the mid-1990's, Peter Flaccus abandoned oil painting and began a thorough exploration of the waxy medium known as encaustic. Dating back as early as the 2nd century AD, encaustic is one of the oldest painting techniques known to man. However, through years of technical experimentation Peter Flaccus has invented new procedures for exploiting the rich potential of his chosen medium. In this recent group of paintings, the artist has also struck a perfect balance between material, technique and imagery. The resulting imagery, which resonates to organic forms and cosmic explosions, reveals both the process of its creation and the physicality of the encaustic medium itself.
Viewers of the latest paintings by Peter Flaccus will be struck by two aspects, which are new with respect to his previous work. First, by literally pouring the paintings rather than using brushes, and by renouncing painterly gesture and conventional strategies of composition, he has introduced an element of chance in the production of the images. Although he has achieved a remarkable technical mastery, his control is limited to setting in motion a process that renders results, which are unpredictable and irreproducible. This means that the images are not simply metaphors for natural phenomena, but in reality occur as natural phenomena. Thus, certain paintings have the title “Events.” The second novelty in this exhibition lies in the rediscovery of color. Although color played an important role in earlier work, a delicate palette of neutral whites, tans, grays, blues and blacks dominated. This exhibition represents a delayed explosion of color, a deliberate reveling in every combination of tonality, both brilliant and subtle. Color in these works pulsates, breathes, and brings form magically to life. (Annemarie Sauzeau)
Peter Flaccus was born in Missoula, Montana, in 1947. He studied art at Amherst College, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and Indiana University, where he received an M.F.A. During his twenty years in New York City, he exhibited at the Zabriskie and Monique Knowlton galleries. His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions including: Ninni Esposito Arte Contemporanea, Bari (2000 and 2002), High Five, at the Sala Murat, Bari (2002), Paesaggio dopo la Battaglia, Museo Laboratorio di Arte Contemporanea, Rome (2000) and Architettura Arte Moderna (2004). His work is present in collections, including Estée Lauder, Lehman Brothers, and Barklay’s Bank. He has received grants from the New York Foundation on the Arts, the New York Council on the Arts, and has been a resident at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. Peter Flaccus has taught painting at Bennington College, Princeton University, Washington University in St. Louis and Cooper Union. He currently teaches at John Cabot University in Rome.