With references ranging from Pieter Bruegel and Roland de la Porte to Holly Hobbie and paint-by-numbers, Marion Peck mines the depths of art history, popular culture and the human experience for her meticulous narratives. In Ladies & Clowns Peck utilizes these sources to alternately honor and challenge archetypes of beauty, femininity, serenity and joy. In “Fuck You,” a nod to François Gérard’s 1804 “Portrait de Mme Tallien,” an elegant royal is anything but, as she tells us how she really feels. In a series of solemn clown portraits we are reminded that the sad clown is sometimes just that. And while peasants dance in a painting of the same name, their son leers at a corralled ass while the evening’s dinner runs around with its head cut off.
Sometimes referred to as a contemporary surrealist because of her propensity to incorporate dream imagery into her work, with Ladies & Clowns Peck looks beyond the subconscious, reminding us that the waking world is never quite as it seems. And with her dark sense of humor and irrepressible optimism, she assures us that while life can be ominous, tragic, even deceptive, it is also beautiful, magical and alive with hope.
Marion Peck earned her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Paris, Rome, and Turin. Born in The Philippines while her family was on a trip around the world, she lived in Rome and Seattle before settling in Eagle Rock, California. This is Marion Peck’s first solo exhibition in New York.