www.ben.edu/artgallery this article will discuss the prints of famed Chicago artist, Ed Paschke. This exhibit will be a commemorative look at his work, since his passing ten years ago. It will feature works from the family's private holdings, and some rarely seen works, including prints.
Edward Francis Paschke, 1939 – 2004, was a Polish American painter. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and later worked as a commercial artist, until he was drafted into the Army in 1962. When he returned to Chicago after his service, he worked as an illustrator and then went to teach painting at Northwestern University. His prolific career was cut short when he died on Thanksgiving morning, in 2004, of an apparent heart attack.
For those of you unfamiliar with Paschke's prints, they closely relate to his paintings, which earned him worldwide acclaim, and secured a spot in the art history annals for Chicago's Imagist Movement; popular in the latter part of the 20th century. Paschke's love of making art started as a child while making objects with his father and brother. He liked Disney cartoons and grew up in Chicago during a period of relative calm until the civil rights marches came to the Midwest.
His portraits of Michael Jordan were timely, with the Chicago Bulls championships of the 1990s, but he seemed more akin to finding and using the subjects as a tool for expanding his craft. The masks, harken back to Picasso's use of primitive African masks in his work. At one point, Paschke eliminates the subjects' eyes, mouth and nose, deliberately de-personifying them. They have no place or time or identifying features, and then become, in a sense, a universal man. I am reminded of the work of Rodin, who achieved a universal masculinity. Paschke arrives at the same place via his own devices.
His collages portray our fragmented society and our inability to 'tone it down' any longer. IIn a sense, it's as if Paschke is saying that since we can't control whats happening in our visually bombarded world, then we may as well embrace it and crank up the visual volume. He makes us aware that there are always layers beneath one's veneer, beneath the mask we show the world.
I never really bought the idea that Paschke was trying to show the seedy side of Chicago in any specific or moralistic sense. These characters could be found anywhere. Well maybe not Anywhere...Paschke's studio on Howard Street was the dividing line between the big, bad city and the suburban genteel. There would have been enough fringy characters running around the area for a good take on some of his subjects. Yet, the town(Chicago) is the town, and it has its plethora of issues with mafia, gangs, guns, and the like; but it is also a town of hard-working people, and especially hard-working artists. He was a good, hard-working artist who chose a bold, funky subject and ran with it. Who amongst us wouldn't have done the same?
The piece I chose to close this article with is one that was personal for Paschke. "Compassion" is a print of the artist and his wife Nancy. Nancy was also an artist, and after raising two children, Marc and Sharon, she developed a debilitating illness which required a caretaker. As Ed's career continued to take off, people suggested he move to New York to further his career, but he would not leave his wife. This print shows Paschke embracing Nancy as she leans her head on his shoulder. The colors here are noticeably more somber, quiet. They were soul mates. Two months after Paschke's sudden death, Nancy followed after him...
In June 2014, the Ed Paschke Art Center was unveiled in Chicago. It is a great place to visit, see some of his work and a replica of his studio. Take a trip and go visit the work of one of Chicago's brightest art stars. You will be glad you did. http://edpaschke.org/ed-paschke-art-center.html
The Art Institute of Chicago
Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland
Benedictine University, Lisle, IL
Birmingham Museum of Art, England
Borg-Warner Corporation, Chicago
Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso, IN
Brooklyn Museum, New York
Carnegie Center for Art & History, New Albany, IN
Carnegie Museum, Pittsburg
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
The Chicago Tribune
Chicago History Museum, Chicago, IL
Cole-Taylor Bank, Chicago
Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI
Continental Bank, Chicago
Elvehjem Museum of Art, Madison, WI
Exxon Corporation, New York
First National Bank of Chicago
General Electric & Co, Fairfield, CT
Hirshorn Museum, Washington, DC
Illinois Bell, Chicago
Illinois State Museum of Art, Springfield, IL
Jacksonville Museum of Art, Florida
Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Michigan
John F Kennedy Library, Washington, DC
Madison Art Center, Madison, WI
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin
Montgomery Museum of Art, Montgomery, AL
Musee d'Art Moderne Nationale, Paris
Museo de Art Contemporaneo de Monterrey, Mexico
Museum Boymans, Rotterdam, Holland
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna
National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Inst. Washington, DC
Northern Trust Bank, Chicago
Palmer Museum of Art, Penn State University Museum, University Park, PA
Playboy Collection, Chicago
Polk Museum, Lakeland, Florida
Rutgers University, New Jersey
The State of Illinois, Chicago
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC
Weisman Museum of Art, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Yale University Museum, CT