Peter Sowiski, Pulp Painter: A Survey

Peter Sowiski, RQ-7 Shadow, 2013. Kozo and abaca paper with woodblock inclusions, pigmented pulps and relief. 11"x16”
Exhibition Dates: 
October 3 to December 13, 2013

Peter Sowiski was born in 1949 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He received a BA in 1971 in Studio Art from Oberlin College, and an MFA in 1974 in Printmaking from Ohio State University.  He first exhibited in 1971 and has since shown in over twenty solo exhibitions and over one hundred and sixty various regional, national and international exhibitions.   Over the last thirty-plus years Peter has held eighty-five workshops, lecture or visiting artist posts regionally, nationally and overseas.

He began making paper for prints in 1976 and has become primarily known as a pulp painter. His work is in the collections of The Burchfield Penney Art Center, The Castellani Art Museum, The University of Georgia, KKM LLC, MONY Financial Services, Oberlin College, Ohio State University, The Rising Paper Company, and numerous private collections in America. He was on the Robert C. Williams American Museum of Papermaking Board of Advisors, 1999-2007, and the Board of Directors of Hand Papermaking Magazine, 1992-2000. He was President of The Friends of Dard Hunter, Inc. 1996-2000, an international organization of hand papermakers, historians, scientists, artists, and conservators. He has worked for Abaca Press since its inception in 1995.

He started teaching at Buffalo State College as an instructor in 1974, receiving the rank of full professor in 1989. Over the years he taught studio courses at all levels and Senior Seminar in Fine Arts. He was Chair of Fine Arts from 1991 – 1997, and 2000- 2003. He was Chair of Design from 2005-06, and received the President’ s Award for Excellence in Service to the College. Peter enjoyed three sabbaticals, investigated papermaking in Korea, China and Vietnam, was a visiting Professor in Costa Rica and Jamaica, and since retiring in 2007 continues messing up his studio in Buffalo.

About the show:

Peter Sowiski came to the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking to install the show. He brought a wide selection of pieces from throughout his career, including some of his favorites. The gallery consists of two rooms, the first of which features more recent works, and the second concentrates on smaller, earlier works.  Museum staff and student workers worked closely with Peter and his brother to exhibit the works. 

Stealth Service (2005) is a massive piece consisting of 60 panels measuring 3’x4’ each. Only a small portion can be displayed in the gallery. The remaining panels can be viewed by visitors in a portfolio located in the center of the gallery. A graph printed on each piece reveals to the viewer which part of the whole it is. 

RQ-7Shadow (2013) is the most recent piece in the gallery, completed in September 2013.  Peter made it to fit on the wall on which it is displayed.  The RQ-7 Shadow is an unmanned arial vehicle used by the military.  Sowiski’s piece is life-size.