Acrylic on canvas, c. 1993
Signed lower right
15 x 20 inches
Provenance: Aaron Galleries, Chicago
Although Bodnar’s work resembles some of the more surrealist or funky versions of Pop art, it is, as Peter Frank has written, “quite like nothing else produced by any artist anywhere on the planet. Perhaps this solitary quality, this uniqueness, is exactly what estranges Bodnar’s painting from the public it deserves.”
Here is a brief (slightly edited) excerpt from a biographical statement posted on askart.com:
Peter Bodnar obtained his M.F.A. degree in 1956, and moved his growing family to Plattsburg, New York, where he served as Assistant Professor at New York State University. Much of his work was lost or destroyed during his two-year tenure there. In 1957 he became friends with sculptor David Smith, and painter Lennie Kesl in Lansing, Michigan, who said of his friend: ”His art comes forth from him as an extension of his personal life, and for this reason he is also the most ‘natural’ of artists.” (Peter Bodnar, p.71)
During a summer in Maine, where the family would later establish a second home, he became friends with painter Raphael Soyer and poet Paul Verlain. Subsequent career-moves saw the family in West Virginia and Gainesville, Florida, until in 1962, Bodnar started teaching lithography at the University of Illinois, Urbana. While teaching and earning grants and fellowships, Bodnar continued his art and exhibited in shows around the country. 1977-1978 he served as visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1979, Bodnar returned to Urbana, Illinois, once again to teach at the University until his retirement in 1992.