On November 16, Bonner David Galleries will open its exhibition for figurative painter Melissa Peck, who is displaying a solo show of new works for the first time in seven years. After the birth of her son five years ago, Peck scaled back on painting but over the past year, with her son entering kindergarten, she has found dedicated time for creating again. For this show, the artist will be paying homage to one of her artistic influences, artist and animator Mary Blair.
Blair is best known for her work at the Walt Disney Company, creating concept art for films such as Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan and the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disney theme parks. “There’s a flatness to Blair’s artwork, and my work is somewhere between flat and dimensional,” says Peck. “So in these new works, it made me explore the flatness and the patterns more, as well as the colors she used.”
Blair also was the illustrator for the Little Golden Book I Can Fly, by Ruth Krauss, which has been of particular inspiration to Peck. In her painting Mary Blair, Peck pulls references from the cover into the work. “I’d say probably my favorite art that I’ve seen of hers is the cover of I Can Fly,” she says. “I pulled some things out of the image, and the waves in the
background just happened. The color inspiration came from her.”
The works in the show also highlight Peck’s love for vintage items. Her piece Lark was created specifically for a vintage oval frame she has, while paintings such as Beatrice and Franki depict figures with vintage stuffed animals. The animals can be ones that Peck makes herself, such as the black-and-white bear that Beatrice holds in her arms, or that she has collected, like the skunk in Franki’s pocket. Peck’s show will remain on view at the gallery through December 3.
1Mary Blair, oil on panel, 11 x 9"1
2Beatrice, oil on panel, 14 x 11"2