By: Emily Schecter Seraphin Gallery Intern
Edited By: Alyssa Laverda, Associate Director, Seraphin Gallery
Madeline Peckenpaugh, Seraphin Gallery artist, invites viewers to become encompassed by her work as she aims to recreate an intangible impression left from a moment of awareness. She explains that “each painting is a space made up of quiet collected moments that are often not remembered,” every work embodying the feeling of a particular time and place. She builds each painting using a sophisticated method of adding and subtracting paint-- forming entrances into her paintings, but also dead ends.
Peckenpaugh’s piece To Begin (currently at Seraphin Gallery) is a portal, encouraging viewers to step inside. Persimmon colored paint bursts upwards, erupting much of the canvas, while a serene cerulean peaks peek from behind the foreground. The work is layered -- created by expressive mark making, which document a sense of nostalgia from a time and place left behind, in a limited color palette.
Peckenpaugh believes that her work has developed a different tone since her solo exhibition last September. Adjusting her process, she has been focusing on restricting herself from using techniques that have become habit. Through this shift, Peckenpaugh is becoming increasingly aware of similarities between her works and examining what about these recurring features attract her and focusing on amplifying them in her newer work. The parallels that tie her work and her life together are what she revels in when creating a new body of work. She reveals, “If I’m struggling with a painting everything else goes along with it. My process of figuring out the tentative conclusion to the painting helps me make decisions in everything else. There is a very satisfying feeling once a painting is ‘finished’ because it no longer asks me questions.”
In For A Trail, one of Peckenpaugh’s more recent pieces, undulating golden scrapes seem to dance across the canvas. The lines created by scraping away the top layer of paint lead the eye towards deeper into the painting, beckoning the viewer to follow. Behind, shades of green conceal most of the canvas, where the artist has selectively placed flat shapes, created by her hand in rose and charcoal paints. Playful energy exudes from Peckenpaugh’s styles in juxtaposition with her sophisticated palette.
Peckenpaugh is about to commence a two month Residency at the Patan Museum in Nepal. Her works will undoubtedly be influenced by the compelling Nepalese culture, the Himalayan landscape, as well as the jarring experience of traveling to the other side of the globe. Peckenpaugh looks forward to “Being uncomfortable and learning to adapt,” – this is where growth blooms. She is also excited to explore what aspects of the lifestyle in Nepal will appeal to her the most, and curious to see how this encounter will affect her.
This is not the first time Peckenpaugh has traveled on behalf of her art practice. Two years ago she visited the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and France after being granted a travel scholarship from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. She recalls that she had high expectations that traveling would transform her work, but she learned that any experience requires time and large digestion in order to see apparent change.
This trip she’s going in with no expectations, explaining, “I’m going to trust myself and not force anything,” although she does believe the enlightening setting of Nepal will develop her work in some way. Particularly, she believes that her color palette will evolve and that this residency will be a catalyst to reflecting on color and texture in a new way. She also thinks that the different pace of life in the Himalayas verses living in Philadelphia, a major city, will influence this new body of work, which will be exhibited in a solo exhibition this coming April.
Peckenpaugh was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graduated from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in 2011 before going on to earn a Certificate and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 2015. Her work was shown at Seraphin Gallery’s 2015 Emerging Talent Exhibition, followed by a solo exhibition later that year. Most recently, her work has been exhibited in the offices of Seraphin Gallery and the Woodmere Art Museum; one of her pieces having been acquired as part of their permanent collection. Seraphin Gallery has numerous paintings available by Peckenpaugh. In the next few months she will be participating in a pop up show in Milwaukee, in addition to her residency at the Patan Museum in Nepal, granted by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Fellowship.
For more information on Madeline Peckenpaugh please click here