Ed Paschke’s paintings are a startling mix of realistic detail and wild transformation. His early (1960s) imagery was drawn from cheap amusements such as circus freak shows, wrestling matches, burlesque houses, and porno films, and was rendered in one of the most unflinchingly garish palettes in American art. In the early 1970s he concentrated on portraits , frequently masked, with exaggerated facial features and anatomy. In the mid-70s he integrated the elaborately costumed figures into luxuriously patterned backgrounds. Passages were closer to abstraction; freak-show rawness gave way to explorations of relationships between physical appearances and inner life.
Paschke is a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has worked in Chicago since 1961. The quality of his work as an Imagist was instrumental in bringing national recognition to Chicago in the 60s and 70s. This exhibiton surveys his career and highlights his ongoing involvement with the reality projected by our visual media in all their varied form.
This exhibition travelled to Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, and Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, Texas.