Francis Piatek

Notre Dame Sheela Rite of Passage/Entry Eye of the Needle, 1969

American, 1944

Piatek’s work has been critical to the development of abstract painting in Chicago. In 1981 Piatek joined three other painters, Miyoko Ito, William Conger and Richard Loving (all represented in the EC Collection) to form a group called ‘Allusive Abstractionists’. The nature of abstraction is to suggest rather than describe and is beautifully expressed in Piatek’s work. His signature tubular intertwining forms evoke associations with both natural and man-made shapes, e.g. parts of human and animal anatomy; the plant world and machine elements.

In Notre Dame Sheela… an immense undulating symmetrical form emerges from the darkness and alludes to a variety of interesting figurative associations. The totemic like presence creates a haunting spiritual stillness. Swathed in a fur-like texture the form becomes highly sensuous and voluptuous. Piatek masterfully renders the illusions of volume and texture employing a painting technique used by the Old Masters. Highly regarded as both artist and teacher Piatek is well-known for a course on the historical materials and techniques of painting that he developed at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Purchased in 1981 with a matching grant from the Illinois Arts Council’s Partners in Purchase Program