Lorraine Peltz is a painter, not a glass artist! What's her work doing in our current exhibition, COLD+HOT 2008?! Good question...I struggled with that for a few weeks, actually, since I met her in Miami last year when her work was shown at the Art Now Miami Beach Fair by her Chicago gallerist. There is something immensely appealing about Lorraine's work. To begin, her use of saturated rich color draws the viewer quickly in, and before you know it, your eye is wandering all over her canvas like a lustful Casanova. Lorraine's work, using varying depths of field, is alluring and demonstrates sophisticated painterly knowledge in its deliberate engagement of the viewer's visual pleasure. Really. As one of the satellite exhibitors to the gargantuan Art Basel|Miami Beach throng, competing with massive shows of highbrow and lowbrow art, Lorraine's work and her gallerist's exhibition enjoyed a steady flow of visitors drawn in to her paintings. The imageries seem simple... Painterly sketches of chandeliers floating on a brightly hued canvas with cartoon conversation call-outs rising from a low corner. Makes me think of a party someplace fancy, lots of sparkling chandeliers above, it's evening, lots of beautiful people, conversation at a low, steady hum...nice...love the painting. Gotta have it.
I loooove Lorraine. Seriously. Her enthusiasm for her work is infectious, and translates to fine work and sophisticated messageries. Her work is easy on the eye, containing lovely references to her own feminist (and feminine) aesthetic. Feminist? Okay, here's where I tend to slip off the boat...I'm not a feminist, although I'm unquestionably old enough to join the geriatric generation that stormed corporate America with shrill demands for "equality"...and let's save that discussion for another day. The point is, Lorraine believes her work addresses continuing feminist dialogue. Who am I to argue? I do agree with deeply feminine aspects of her work, its sparkly allegory, rich hues, embrace of community and development of society. Her work reminds me how my mother's search for beauty was constant and commanded respect. It reminds me that design trades largely run by men are marketed to women. It tells me that in truth, it's the feminine gender that make the rules for how we live, what we live with, and who we allow to form these rules.
Lastly, I didn't tell you she's a studio art professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She's is, and what a heavyweight she is there too, with enough accolades, grants, reviews to give any grad school newbie a daunting challenge. Currently enjoying a restrospective exhibition of her work (from 1993 to 2008) at the Munster Center for Visual and Performing Arts, and looking forward to several exhibitions (Italy, Miami, San Francisco) in 2008, Lorraine Peltz is a woman, an artist, and an intellect to keep your eye on.