Paintings from Lotus Land: Marion Peck @ NANZUKA, Tokyo
NANZUKA is pleased to present “Paintings from Lotus Land,” an exhibition of works by American artist Marion Peck who lives and works in Portland, USA. The exhibition marks the artist’s first solo exhibition in Japan.
Marion Peck was born in Manila, the Philippines while her family was on a trip. She grew up in Seattle, and received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1985. Subsequently, she studied in two MFA programs at Syracuse University in New York and Temple University in Rome. Since holding her first solo exhibition in 1990 at the Marianne Partlow Gallery in Olympia, Washington, Peck has presented her work internationally in numerous locations including San Francisco, New York, Rome, and Paris.
Peck invites viewers to venture into unsettling and mysterious narratives through her fastidious oil paintings that seemingly bring to mind the zeitgeist of the religious paintings of the Northern Renaissance era. Those that appear in the worlds that unfold within her work are anthropomorphic animals and animalized human beings, while various flora and fauna are often rendered in unrealistic scales. Upon close observation it is possible to notice various gimmicks that serve to tickle our curiosity as achieved through the subtle peculiarities of the subject’s facial expressions, and the combination of things that appear to be out of place with one another. Indeed, Peck’s paintings, which are executed in miniscule scale, lures viewers into otherworldly realms with its sense of magic generated by means of an exquisite balance between a certain approachableness reminiscent of a children’s book and sense of perilous uncertainty that keeps us at bay.
Peck’s long-time partner and renowned artist Mark Ryden is also an extremely important presence in the context of discussing her work, as he too is regarded as a key advocator of the Pop Surrealist art movement. Mark Ryden is a giant, who through his remarkable painterly skills and power paired with sheer degree of perfection, had managed to elevate his own style to utmost sophistication. With his work, he had succeeded in breaking down the walls of the art industry so as to enable so-called Lowbrow art to be widely recognized and appreciated. Perhaps masked in the shadows of Ryden’s fame, until now there had not been many opportunities to talk about the distinct artistic qualities of Peck’s work alone. Nevertheless, Peck’s presence is highly important even in contemplating the possible influences she had on Ryden as an artist who had marked an earlier debut, or their confluent relationship in enriching each other’s work. What is more, in revisiting Peck’s artistic endeavors through this comprehensive showcasing of her fresh and current works, viewers will undoubtedly find that there are some highly significant points that are not observed in her husband Ryden’s work.
“Lotus Land,” as seen in the title of this exhibition, derives from a parable in ancient Greek mythology. While in Japanese it is often simply translated to Togenkyo (“The Peach Blossom Land” –an ethereal utopia where the people lead an ideal existence in harmony with nature), the “Lotus-eater” in Homer's "Odyssey" is portrayed as a presence that serves to symbolize a more complex and didactic message.
The exhibition will feature a selection of 20 or so new paintings and drawing works. Viewers are invited to take this opportunity to explore the world of Peck’s work, while drawing references to keywords such as “the facial expressions of its characters (people, plants, and animals)” as well as “the outcome of the stories told.”