Art of the Day: "The Beauty of Damage" of Christopher Pekoc, by Thomas Ball, Henry Adams and Bernie Sokolowski

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 09/26/2008 - 20:11.

You don't need to know anything about an artist, his inspiration or the construction of his art to love it.

I had never seen the work of Cleveland artist Christopher Pekoc before I attended his Evolution 1964-2006 Retrospective, at Convivium 33 Gallery, but I was immediately awed by the art I encountered. First impressions were of bold, graphic, exciting, expansive, beautiful, glowing images powerful enough to command an entire church. Direct viewing found imagery challenging enough to shock a clergy. Closer inspection discovered inventive expressions and painting and collage techniques unlike any other art, executed with refinement seen from few artists.

What more does one need to know to appreciate such great art?

The likes of arts champion Toby Devan Lewis, writer/producer Henry Adams, filmmaker Thomas Ball, animator Bernard Sokolowski, CWRU's Baker Nord Center for the Humanities, and friends and muses of the artist offer their thoughts in abundance, in fine film form, with an 18 minute feature on Pekoc and his art, aptly titled "The Beauty of Damage", which premiered at the Cleveland Museum of Art, September 24th, 2008,
followed by a discussion about the film with Pekoc, Sokolowski and Adams (in order, below).

Produced to accompany a forthcoming national traveling exhibition of Pekoc's work, "The Beauty of Damage" is informative about Pekoc, his inspiration, and technique... and is a great short film that is inspiring, with creative technique in and of itself. Well conceived and smartly structured, crisply filmed and edited, with a complimentary soundtrack and writing that is accessible yet intriguing, the production is more than a biographical documentary to play in the corner of a gallery featuring Pekoc's art.

"The Beauty of Damage" is a film about artists, and art, and the importance of art, and is art... and, I'm glad to say, is the first film my 3-year-old son Claes has attended, and he was intrigued and inspired.

As an artist, I recognized in Pekoc's story and approach to life many aspects that inspire me, helping me identify with the artist and his work. And, I got a few new inspirations for my work...

The film making did not get between the viewer and the art, and the artist, but made access to them very dynamic. You enter the studio, you feel the thickness of the material, you force through the punch, you torch the art with the artist, slowly and methodically, and suddenly the art takes on a life of its own (thanks to the fun animation work of Sokolowski).

Perhaps the greatest achievement of the film is that it puts Pekoc and his art in such a clear perspective that even the clergy would be appreciative.

As this was a premier showing of a film for a traveling art exhibition, I do not know how one may view it now... I believe a DVD copy is available for sale... perhaps it may be viewed on-line... does anyone know what is next for this film and exhibit?


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