The Journal Gazette
Friday, June 26, 2020 1:00 am

Taking a deeper look

Garrett museum opens Virgina artist's exhibition

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

Artists create.

Of course, everyone knows that. But there is another big part of the job people might not think about: Searching for opportunities to show their work.

“As an artist, you can't just paint and expect somebody to fall out of the sky into your studio,” artist Judith Peck says by phone from Virginia where she is based. “You have to get your work out there.”

Two years ago, she was in an art residency in Austria and had time to really look for those opportunities to exhibit work. She came across the Garrett Museum of Art, which had an artist submission form on its website, and applied. That started a process that has led to an exhibition opening today.

Peck believes the exhibition, which has around 40 pieces, is the largest solo exhibition of her work that has been done.

“It's nice to be able to show a large body of work instead of just a few pieces” like are normally shown in galleries, Peck says.

She calls herself a goofy person but says her work of allegorical figurative pieces is serious. They are portraits, but the meaning goes deeper than just the people in the paintings.

For example, a diptych titled “Steeled” shows a woman sitting against rocks, wrapped in a shawl with a gray, stormy sky behind her. She has steeled herself to face the storm.

Peck wants people to spend time with her work at the exhibition and find how it connects to their own life.

The oil paintings also include shards from plaster sheets that the artist says reflect that we live in a world that is a result of everything that has come before now.

“I think that when I paint with those shards, I'm trying to say that 'We live in this broken world together, and either we ... see the picture as a whole and bring the shards together or we deny that it happened,' ” Peck says.

Gallery coordinator Angela Green is glad the exhibition's dates fall after the state's reopening plan allowed the museum to welcome visitors. Though Peck decided not to travel to Garrett for the opening, she might still come in for the exhibition's closing. A virtual artist talk is also possible.

The museum will be open regular hours, but there is a push for private tours and appointments so crowd sizes can be maintained, Green says. At current 50% capacity, the museum can hold about 100 people. Indiana's reopening plan is expected to allow full capacity starting July 4.

Masks are encouraged, but not required for visitors. Green says the museum is checking staff temperatures and making sure everything is sanitized. Workers will show guests a traffic flow pattern to help keep everyone moving in the same direction and help maintain social distancing.

The museum is also opening exhibitions today in an area used to spotlight regional artists. Digital photography from Mark Goodhew of LaGrange and pottery from Joel Pisowicz of Elkhart are featured in the space.

Entries for “Art From a Social Distance,” a virtual gallery of more than 200 pieces of art submitted by artists during the pandemic, will be accepted through July 4. The gallery will remain in the museum's online archives after that date.

A virtual tour of Peck's show will also be available at, though Green says it might not be up right away.

If you go

What: Judith Peck exhibition

When: 5 to 8 p.m. Fridays, 4 to 7 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays today through Aug. 2; private tours available

Where: Garrett Museum of Art, 100 S. Randolph St., Garrett

Admission: Free

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