Peter Gourfain, a Chicago native and graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, has had an impressive number of solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States. Most noteable are his solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York and the Chazen (formerly the Elvehjem) Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin. The artist is the subject of a large and detailed catalog from the latter exhibit.
Although Gourfain prefers the existing ambiguities of his images rather than supplied meaning, a sociopolitical ambiguous Americana is present in many of his prints. The stylized images, dark contrast and heavy line lend gravitas to the subjects. In Gourfain’s prints, Romanesque figures and objects mingle. Images emerge from each other and body parts from new objects and characters, delineated by text and the occasional splash of color. Heads roll and shadows loom in the landscape as figures intertwine and repel amongst ladders and chairs, creating a firm uncertainty, to which the artist does not comment.
Renowned for his terracotta, bronzes and carvings into old wooden objects, the dimensionality of his sculpture is retained in the carving of his prints. Gourfain’s woodblock and linoleum print work exemplifies the style, skill, poignancy and humor for which he is known.
Gourfain has received several high-profile fellowships and commissions for both his sculptural and print works. His art is included in many private and public collections, including the Museum of Arts and Design, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Based in New York, Peter Gourfain continues to create darkly humorous and thought-provoking images in several media.