If you are adventurous and want to spend an afternoon chasing after captivating public art at one of New York City’s most iconic of locations, then do not download the map beforehand and try to find as many of Hilary Pecis’ refreshingly inviting and vibrant color-infused paintings installed in “unique and unexpected locations” throughout the Rockefeller Center campus for the next few weeks.
The exhibition by artist Hilary Pecis whose work is influenced by her life in New York City and Los Angeles, is part of the Art in Focus series, a partnership of Rockefeller Center and Art Production Fund, and on view until September 2. Pecis’ vivid still life images where flowers and vases and bold hues in furniture and coffee tables strewn with books and everyday items abound, draws the viewer in - it’s home, in full-color. Her landscape paintings of desert mountains and cactus all abloom, transport you to another place - a delightful contrast to the art deco architecture of her landmarked Fifth Avenue host.
Pecis has had numerous solo exhibitions at galleries and museums nationally and internationally, especially over the past five years. She recently answered questions about her work, and the opportunity to showcase her talent at the world-famous location.
I stopped and stared when the first image of one of your colorful installations at Rockefeller Center came across my screen. Then I enlarged the image. Is this the reaction you hope for with your paintings?
Yes, absolutely! Any pause for further investigation or enlargement in this case is so wonderful.
The bright colors, the everyday objects, are inviting and relatable, is there a specific reason you choose both?
When we pause to look at a grey stone, we really notice all the colors that make up that color. I love to pick out some of the nuances and enhance them.
Flowers are present in a lot of your work. Is there a story behind this?
Well, truth be told, there are usually flowers on my studio table, in my dining room, and in my garden. I love painting flowers, as they often allow for ambiguity in their structure, and offer the opportunity to get loose in the rendering. Additionally, whether in real life or in a painting, their colors and symbolism brighten a mood.
When did you first decide you wanted to draw/paint as a full-time career?
I had made the decision around age six, but as years passed, I grew wary of this being a reality. Only a few years ago was I able to leave my day job and paint full time. It continues to feel like a dream and whenever I am exhausted and overwhelmed, I just remember that this had been almost unfathomable for me just five years ago and trying to paint and hold down a job was far more difficult.
What is it like to have your work on display at Rockefeller Center?
It is totally unreal. Having the opportunity for a wider audience outside of the art world to see my work feels incredible. I think that sometimes I forget that not everyone visits galleries regularly. So, to have my artworks brought out into the public space is such a gift for me! I hope that the visitors of the Center enjoy them as well.
A hint for your visit: Atlas hovers near; other locations are not so clear. But press on, there is delight in your guess – a vitrine and mural, await your quest.