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History, Healing Explored in Exhibit’s Oil Paintings

Judith Peck has made it her life’s work to paint about history and healing. She portrays the broken yet beautiful human experience in her oil paintings.

The Gallery at Penn College will host “Hope and History,” a collection of Peck’s work, March 13 through April 18. A Meet the Artist Reception is set for Thursday, March 15, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., featuring an artist’s talk at 5:30 p.m. The reception and exhibit are open to the public and free of charge.

“I look at the things happening in the world today, and what history has taught us about our broken world, and I can’t stop being drawn into the unreason of it all,” Peck says in her artist’s statement. “What I try to express in my art is that we all have the same hopes and dreams as anyone, anywhere at anytime in the present or throughout history. I depict how, despite our rifts, we might experience healing in a broken world, and how that undertaking is universally human.”

Judith Peck’s “Ripple Effect,” oil and plaster on board, 31 inches by 33 inches
Judith Peck’s “Ripple Effect,” oil and plaster on board, 31 inches by 33 inches

Peck uses an individual model in each of her pieces, created with oils and imbedded gessoed plaster shards. The singular subject represents a life’s broken path.

“I’m looking for the binding power opposite of mob mentality – our mutual connections. Although we can all be overwhelmed and feel helpless, the human spirit always possesses hope, even in the most desperate of circumstances. I would be happy if I can show a glimmer of our broken yet beautiful human experience.”

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Peck earned a bachelor of fine arts degree at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C. She resides in Vienna, Virginia.

Peck has exhibited her work in venues nationwide, most recently in Des Plaines, Illinois; Rockville and Cumberland, Maryland; Brownsville, Texas; Denver; and Washington, D.C.

Last year, she won the Best in Show and Students’ Choice awards at “Art Speaks on the Bay,” a juried art show at Bay School Community Arts Center, in Mathews, Virginia; first place at “For and About Women,” at the Fredericksburg Center for Creative Arts, Fredericksburg, Virginia; second place at the 30th September Competition, an international juried exhibition hosted by Alexandria Museum of Art, in Alexandria, Louisiana; and second place at the Hill Center Galleries’ Regional Juried Exhibition, Washington, D.C.

Peck’s “Steeled,” oil and plaster on board, 40 inches by 60 inches
Peck’s “Steeled,” oil and plaster on board, 40 inches by 60 inches

More locally, Peck captured a second-place award at the Figurative National Juried Competition at Susquehanna University’s Lore Degenstein Gallery in 2016.

Peck has received the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts residency, in Saratoga, Wyoming, and the Kunstinsel international artist residency, in Hallein, Austria, and was awarded a Strauss Fellowship Grant from Arts Council of Fairfax County, Virginia.

Her paintings have been featured numerous times in PoetsArtists Magazine, as well as The Artist’s Magazine, American Art Collector Magazine, Combustus, Catapult and The Kress Project of the Georgia Museum of Art.

Peck’s work is collected internationally and can be found in many private collections as well as in the Museo Arte Contemporanea, Sicily, Italy; the collection of the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Washington, D.C.; and the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Altoona.

When asked about the process of creating her paintings, Peck said, “Most of my paintings begin with a germ of an idea that couldn’t be fleshed-out until the model actually engages. I discuss the plan with the model, and we come up with what is best described as a collaboration to get a number of poses that does not illustrate the idea, but alludes to it. Then I start the painting, and I have so many ways to go and figure it out while painting it. I wait for something more magical than the initial idea to come from the work itself.”

Located on the third floor of the Madigan Library, The Gallery at Penn College is open 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. The gallery is closed on Saturdays and Mondays, and will be closed on Sunday, April 1.

In addition to serving as an educational resource for Penn College students and a cultural asset to the college and community, the gallery is dedicated to promoting art appreciation through exhibitions of contemporary art.

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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