Kabuki Dancer has recently been reinstalled at its original spot on Levis Square in downtown Toledo. The sculpture was out of public view for nearly 2 years and was completely dismantled, cleaned, repaired and repainted in that time. The conservation work was done by McKay Lodge Fine Arts Conservation Laboratory with help from Flatlanders Sculpture Supply. While the sculpture was being conserved, Levis Square was reconfigured to protect the artwork from damage inflicted by skateboarders and bikes.
Born and raised in the high desert country of Winslow, Arizona, Peart earned his BFA at Arizona State University and sold his first sculptures while still an undergraduate. He earned his MFA at Southern Illinois University in 1972. Attracted to Chicago by an emerging community of large-scale sculptors – such as John Henry, Richard Hunt and Steve Urry – he moved to the city and became Urry’s assistant, helping to fabricate Urry’s monumentally sized Arch in 1974.
Peart developed his modus operandi of cutting, shaping, assembling and painting abstract aluminum forms early in his career. He created his first large-scale sculpture Falling Meteor for 1975’s Sculpture for a New Era at Chicago’s Federal Center Plaza. With Falling Meteor and other contributions to the growing prominence of large-scale street sculpture in America, Peart’s reputation and recognition advanced.
During the late 1970s and early ‘80s he exhibited with ConStruct, the Chicago-based movement founded by Mark di Suvero and other artists to organize and promote exhibitions of large-scale sculpture. In 1977, in partnership with Paul Slepak and Tom Scarff, he purchased Sedgwick Studio, where he created both large-scale and smaller sculptures for nearly 30 years. Many collectors and graduate students considered Sedgwick Studio a “must-see” while in Chicago.
Now living in Virginia, Peart continues to create his bold and imaginative sculpture, guided by the belief that the artist not only has to provide an answer but also must pose the question. He has stated that “Art is not about information or description or literal content, art is concerned with … concepts, feelings, ideas, little markers in time, that certain moment that comes while working in the studio. These ideas are like snowflakes, beautiful, fragile, and fading.” The act of creation has no specific sequence or plan but arises from the manipulation of materials; it is “an attempt to achieve something spiritual through plain hard work.”
Garrett Holg, Chicago-based critic for ARTnews and other publications, has written of the lyricism in Peart’s work: “Peart’s sculptures frequently reveal a whimsical nature through the lyrical fusion of organic and geometric imagery and a daring, intuitive palette of radical color combinations. Their sleek, smooth-surface forms, with their dips and twists, curves and folds, are fluidly orchestrated into a simultaneously timeless and momentary expression of energy and movement.”
*biography courtesy of LewAllen Galleries, website www.lewallencontemporary.com
Click Here to read the 2003 article written about him in Sculpture Magazine.
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