When COVID sent everyone into their homes for months on end, Peter Fagundo started working. The Chicago-based artist used the strange experience to create a series of paintings that explored the sudden isolation and its effects on his mind.
“The lockdown showed me the limits of my practice,” Fagundo says. “It seemed what was called for was good ol’ therapy … specific, intimate, embarrassing.”
The result of that therapeutic work is now on display at The Suburban in Walker’s Point (723 S. Fifth St.) in an exhibit titled “Lovely American Disaster,” which runs until Nov. 18.
Fagundo’s oil on canvas paintings cover memories from his life, such as childhood portraits with an American flag waving in the background, a teenager lying in a bedroom decorated with John Wayne and Prince posters, and a man on a motorcycle under a brightly colored, swirling sky, titled: This is Mark. He worked in my dad’s trophy shop. One day he just left. The paintings are both representational and abstract, according to Michelle Grabner, the co-founder of The Suburban, who describes his style as “fantastical realism.”
“Peter always teaches me something,” Grabner says. “He believes that painting can convey heavy, weighty, philosophical ideas. He is somebody who likes to get into the muck of what it means to be a painter.”