Charles Gniech, Detail of “Grounded”, 60 x 40”, acrylic on canvas, 2011
Charles Gniech, “Grounded”, 60 x 40”, acrylic on canvas, 2011
Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago will become a meditative setting of reflection as it presents the intriguingly-intricate paintings of Chicago artist, Charles Gniech, alongside the bold and fascinating sculpture of Corinne D. Peterson. With decades of research between them, the work of these two fine artists focuses on markers of time and transition influenced by the prehistoric stone circles and megaliths found throughout Europe.
Charles Gniech’s work has been influenced by the megalithic stone circles of Great Britain for more then twenty years. This latest body of work explores the meditative qualities of the fluid surface patterns found on many of the monuments. Like that of Agnes Martin and Mark Rothko, the imagery conveys the serene qualities of meditation and inner peace. Gniech explains…
I have spent the past two decades exploring the meditative qualities of the prehistoric stone circles of Great Britain. Britain is littered with more than four hundred and thirty of these prehistoric sites... most people are familiar with Stonehenge, yet there are areas concentrated with megalithic structures as far to the north as the Scottish Islands, and as far to the south and west as Cornwall.
My latest body of work is influenced by the meditative qualities of the fluid surface-patterns found on some of these monuments. I have taken artistic liberties in the replication, manipulation and abstraction of the surface patterns, yet the work continues to convey the serene qualities regularly associated with nature and inner peace.
Corinne D. Peterson “Walled Interior”, 18 x 10 x 10”, stonewareCorinne D. Peterson's work is also inspired by the architectural structures of ancient Europe. Peterson explains…
...art making is a force for exploring connections: between past and present, between opposing forces of nature, between intellect and subconscious, and between myself and clay.
I draw inspiration from architectural and natural structures, such as the ancient standing stones I’ve seen in France and England. As I sculpt the clay, I attempt to be open to the universal forces behind their existence. I do this in an effort to understand how such forces shape contemporary experience. My sculptures with openings to the inside give me an opportunity to contemplate complexities of interior life in contrast to the outer form.
Nature has always been a primary source of pleasure in my life. Working with clay connects me to my early roots of growing up on a Minnesota farm. Cracks, fissures, scars and pools of glaze are all part of my personal artistic vocabulary. The colors I use come primarily from rocks, leaves, and other bits of nature I’ve collected and studied since childhood. I use layers of color and often fill the cracks with dark tones for a sense of age. I intend for each work to expose the evidence of its own history, much as people reveal an accumulation of their experiences.
The paintings of Charles Gniech and the sculpture of Corinne D. Peterson will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through July 19. Previews begin on May 7th. An Opening Reception will take place on Friday, May 11 from 5:30-7:30 pm. All works are available for purchase. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-5:30pm and Saturday 9am-5pm. Additional information can be found at gallery180.com.