Bianca Peake Shows “No Man is An Island”

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Verdel Bishop, Kitcharee

If you ask Bianca Peake to tell you about herself, she will instead point you to her art-because for the artist, putting brush to canvas (or paper, as is the case with her latest exhibition) is how she shares what’s in her thoughts and expresses her world.

“This is a question I feel like looking at my work would do a lot better at answering than answering myself. Surface level, I’m a 20-something who is an artist, for better or for worse. Vegan, feminist etcetera, etcetera and some other descriptors that only describe a part of the whole,” Peake said during a recent interview with the Kitcharee.

Peake’s work, titled “No Man is an Island”, is on exhibit at the Soft Box Gallery, Alcazar Street, St Clair. The exhibit began on May 27 and runs until June 14. While Peake most often paints on canvas, she enjoys exploring ideas on other unique mediums. Her latest body of work features 13 monotypes and 16 oil on paper paintings.

“I most often paint on canvas but also explore ideas on paper as it is a little less precious and you’re less concerned about it being something good so that doesn’t hold you back. On the other hand, canvas can take a beating. They both have their appropriate uses and I tend to use paper to work fast and canvas to take my time and layer and use more medium or solvent.

“I’m open to working with whatever yields results I might find interesting. Oil paint is the gift that keeps giving and there’s so many ways to manipulate it and ways of working. The fact that oil paint can create so many different looks and finishes keeps it exciting for me,” Peake explained.

Instead of simply painting on canvas, for this exhibition Peake also chose to work with monotypes because it is unlike any other art, as the ink can be spread across an area, creating unique prints. “A monotype is a way of printing but it is a unique printing method. “I think it’s a very interesting medium because you get less control and you get a bunch of different variables even though it’s just black and white I’m working with. It’s a very temperamental medium. You can’t necessarily replicate the same image and I enjoy that spontaneity not knowing what you are going to get when you pull the paper off the ink.

“It’s a pretty old technique. I was drawn to it because with a paintbrush in hand you can become very controlling and with this you can relinquish control because it does what it wants to do,” Peake said.

The artist believes that art can be anything and everything the viewer allows it to be. “I think art is something that’s born from people’s desire to be understood. If we lived in a utopia where one person could speak their thoughts with absolutely no distortion and truly be seen there would be no need for it. I suppose it’s born from that lacking but despite that being a pretty dismal reason to exist sometimes it almost transcends and makes people feel seen if art is done well.”

“No Man is an Island”, is an expansion of the concept of feeling seen.

“Being a person, you’re trapped in this very in-between space of being a deeply social creature. You’re shaped by everyone and everything around you but ultimately not being able to see anything outside of your own perception or truly share it with others. It’s the tension in oneself of desiring to know the borders of yourself and pick apart what thoughts and beliefs are innately yours but also knowing that you wouldn’t exist without the people around you.”

The message that transcends from her work, is up to the viewer to decipher. “I don’t necessarily expect people will pick up on all the things that are happening when I’m making them. Paintings have a way of imbuing themselves with not only the conscious decisions of the painter but their unconscious. I’m not trying to push any agenda in the pieces. I think that it is part of my thought process and how I view the world. There are questions about gender and what it means to be a woman in this world but I left people to read into that.

“There are certain trains of thoughts that I’m trying to work through in the pieces that are ongoing in my practice. The performance of gender, one’s perception of oneself in reference to others’ perception of you, also appropriating archetypes and trappings of mysticism to play out different parts of oneself that may not always be present. I would hope that my work is more of an open-ended question than any kind of statement.

 “An image isn’t an essay; there’s lots of different vantage points in which you might not have all the context and I think that’s what makes them so interesting, it’s a different language that you need to meet on its terms. I learn something new with every piece I make. Oftentimes that just leads to more questions but I prefer it that way,” Peake said.

For inquiries contact
Or call 868-740-7109 or 868-622-8610
Gallery Hours Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

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