Promise You Art House displays 'Flowers and Bombs'

The work of Jack Piening in "Flowers and Bombs: An Honest American Retrospective" is on display at Promise You Art House in downtown Highland. 

Promise You Art House in downtown Highland is displaying the work of Jack Piening in "Flowers and Bombs: An Honest American Retrospective" 

Piening is a Cedar Lake-based painter who does brightly colored abstract work. The gallery at 8830 Kennedy Avenue said he "doesn't drive, doesn't do the internet and kinda' hates cable TV, borrows from fine art magazines, chooses his color palette from cereal boxes and New York at night and deep sea creatures, and gets his imagery from the wild and the U.S.A. and busted-up time machines.

"He's a modern American student who has mastered the masters and layers them on top of each other individually," said Eric Roldan, a co-founder, artistic director, curator and producer at Promise You Art House. "He doesn't copy them but borrows their essence and transforms it into original paintings."

Roldan, who's also a member of the artist collective The Unwonted, said he's never seen anything like Piening's work.

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"I've seen plenty of people copy Picasso, and do their version," he said. "He will copy how Picasso does one thing and he'll copy how Lichtenstein does one thing and then he'll copy how the aborigines paint and then he'll make a completely new piece out of it. That's his signature. It's pretty layered. The word depth comes to mind with him. He uses depth figuratively, intuitively and physically."

"Flowers and Bombs" runs through April 6.

Promise You Art House is open from 4  to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and by appointment.

For more information, call 219-595-0097 or visit www.pyarthouse.com.


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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.