Below is a selection of excerpts from reviews (in English) of George Peck’s work.





(Above: Janet Koplos, Art In America, April 1999)



“In a whirlwind exchange of inspiration, Peck painted watercolor storyboards that Perez used to formulate their treatment on film. The final result: BOOKBURN / Library of Books Burned, a jarring meditation on the suppression of culture.”
(from Brendan Seibel’s “A Burning Need for Art”, Adobe Create Magazine, February, 2019)



“At [New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage], video projections of people throwing books into the fire illuminated flowing scrims, surrounding a sculptural pyre lit by video flames. Exhibition visitors were engulfed in the hellscape of burning books. ‘We really think that the power of the piece is that the viewer comes into the space, and the space is taken over by the video projections,’ says Peck. ‘The person comes in and they are inside the action; they are not viewing the action per se but are part of the action.’
Disembodied voices intoned book titles and authors, which were echoed physically by shelves of neatly arranged jars of ashes labeled with titles of books burned by the Nazis in Germany in 1933.
…The frightening truth of BOOKBURN is that it can resonate with audiences anywhere.”
(from Brendan Seibel’s “A Burning Need for Art”, Adobe Create Magazine, February, 2019)



“Peck’s method for arriving at what he calls his ‘composite pictures’ – a term descriptive of both his paintings and drawings – is structurally complex: choosing a particular paper for its weave, he covers it with a mixture of graphite and polymer, applying the latter as a kind of wash with a brush. Handmade stencils and frottage give the works’ surfaces their dense atmosphere, a quality intensified by their very physical texture. The paper itself both supports and embodies the abstract imagery. Peck takes a knife to the finished image and makes linear cuts into the paper so that each drawing becomes a network of incisions that seem to release both light and energy.”
(Jonathan Goodman, Art on Paper, March-April 2000)



“According to noted Hungarian art historian Edit Andras, Peck (metaphorically) operates like a surgeon, groping into the very fabric of the living organism, cutting slicing, stitching, transplanting, suturing, constantly involved in the very act of creation.
His works seen up close are fascinating complex organisms, each with its own highly subtle differences, in delicate materials, shapes, hues, textures, each calmly pulsating with its own very own Peck-given energy.”
(from Ester Vecsey’s “Far ahead of his time”, The Budapest Sun, 2000)




Vivien Raynor, The New York Times, April 1994




“George Peck is not making an imprint of the surface of present reality; instead, what he lifts into his painting is the new way of thinking. He himself becomes the genetic engineer, who no longer treats the body of the painting as a given, intended by nature or God, but interferes with the structure of that body on the level of its basic building blocks, the cells and even the coding of inherited features. He inserts ‘alien’ materials, prosthetic devices, and transplants organs and skin: pieces of material, textures and surfaces. In terms of our metaphor, he is manipulating the DNA of the painting. Leaning over a surgical table, as it were, we can see his body-paintings/painting-bodies present a microscopic close-up of the bleeding, oozing body, the trembling tissue of the painting in all its fallible, vulnerable nakedness.
…[Peck] immerses himself in the present completely and if his language is panting, that is what he will use to enter public discourse. Consequently, he does not accept the tenet of the death of painting, the tenet according to which the inherited tools are obsolete, unsuitable for reflection and particularly dialogue. The role of a mere chronicler of intellectual developments – always arriving after the fact – is declined by him too as narrow and constraining. Decorative art with its function of design appears to him as no longer relevant and even less relevant is ‘karaoke painting,’ offering an interior world of self-absorption and seclusion. What Peck does believe in is the reincarnation of painting, which can only be possible, he claims, if it manages to move on and leave all nostalgic attitudes about its earlier period of life behind. This exhibition offers us new pieces of this reborn, renewed kind of painting, complete with blood, the moist and messy traces of labor, giving birth or the operation, covered with the film of embryonic life: a newborn baby, as it were. A new painting-child is born. Enjoy your visitation rights.”
(From “The Genes of Painting”, on the occasion of the opening of Plastic Painting – Plastic Graft, an exhibition by George Peck at XO Gallery, 30 November 2000)



“The works read interestingly at every distance – as shapes when seen from across the room and as plays of intimate incident when seen up close, where brushstrokes can be discovered, along with overlapping layers of cloth, and bits of gold or silver pigment mixing with shiny passages of glue. The paintings are lyrical from both viewpoints. They’re moody, mysterious, accumulative and alive in the near view, while the beauty of the cutting is best grasped from afar. It is another gesture entirely. Looking at the edges, one can easily imagine the quick flash of the knife. It is a means to an allover effect rather than graphic isolation, and thus closer to the fluidity of Pollock’s drips (though probably more selected and controlled) than to Matisse’s cutting.”
(Janet Koplos, Art in America, April 1999)



“Peck’s paintings fuse forceful action, sensitive touch, compulsive labor and wistful letting go. They achieve their own sort of emotional resolution in their lack of demand for resolution. Peck’s abandonment of the ground and the center are moves as radical as his previous decision to cut up his canvasses. It seems a young person’s risk-taking, a throwing away of controls. One may wonder if it recapitulates his formative experiences of escaping, becoming self-sufficient, starting over. The works’ almost baroque complexity and Peck’s apparent comfort with slow, cumulative building of effects of line, color and texture display a new artistic maturity.”
(Janet Koplos, Art in America, April 1999)



“Peck has been known for his enigmatic, minimal curved, surface paintings. In more recent years he has been making what he calls ‘re-paintings’ in which he sliced up his paintings and reattached them to a painted background. In effect the pieces of the original painting became brushstrokes in the new one, creating a surface full of energy, ambiguity and strange beauty.
This led him to the current work, the composite pictures, in which he uses a combination of techniques to achieve a timeless image that is both energetic and peaceful.”
(from “George Peck at Trans Hudson Gallery”, Hudson Current, April 21-27, 1994)



Joe Fyfe, The New York Times, 2003




“For a few years now, [Peck] has been making images out of images; that is, he cut up existing canvases, then put them back together on new grounds. This time, however, he makes his images from scratch, using a mix of black acrylic, graphite and polymer, which he applies by way of smudges, streaks and frottage to muslin. After that, it is slicing and reassembling, as before.
The results, applied in a more or less rectangular format to un-stretched white canvas, look like smoke. But because of the cracks of white between the pieces (one wonders if the fragments, like the drifting continents, would fit together if pushed), the ‘smoke’ becomes a solid mass in the process of shattering.
There are four large muslin shapes on canvas and four small ones that are paper on paper and, together, they could persuade their beholders that they are witnessing some Dada law of physics in action. Then again, the images could as easily be premonitions of global destruction or simply compositions inspired by Sartre’s book title ‘Of Being and Nothingness’.”
(from Vivien Ranyor’s “Images Made by Slicing and Reassembling”, The New York Times, Sunday, April 24, 1994)



“In the four paintings exhibited, Peck showed just how much command of his method he has. The cuts result in jagged, often geometrical spaces that create a musical rhythm, one accentuated by the white ground of the canvas to which the pieces are affixed. The irregular edges look like Peck’s inspired interpretation of the fractal – a shape that is repeated across all scales of measurement. Thus, the smallest cut is representative of the overall pattern in Peck’s art. At the same time, this method works as a metaphor for modern life – it is an act of violence, rendered eloquent by the artist’s direction.”
(Jonathan Goodman, Art in America)




(Donald Kuspit, Art In America, Feb. 1983)