The Artistic Encounter Between
Channing Peake & Elaine Badgley Arnoux
An Exhibit at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, 2012
In 2012 the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art mounted an exhibition that examined the artistic interaction between Channing Peake (1910-1989) and Elaine Badgley Arnoux (b. 1926), an artist whose creative vision expanded widely after meeting Peake in 1956. As one of the founding members of the San Luis Obispo Art Association, Badgley Arnoux invited Peake to show his work in San Luis Obispo in March of 1957. The exhibit included a number of abstract paintings based on imagery drawn from the Rancho Jabali, the working ranch that he operated with his wife, Katy, near Buellton, California.
At that time, Peake had already established himself as a painter of note in California. He had received a number of favorable critical notices, and he was represented by the prominent Los Angeles art dealer Frank Perls, who introduced him to such luminaries as Pablo Picasso and Rufino Tamayo. A resident of Santa Barbara County, Peake also played an important role in the founding of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
Elaine Badgley Arnoux wasn’t the only person in San Luis Obispo to be affected by Peake’s 1957 exhibit there. According to historian Daniel Krieger, the exhibit can be seen as a pivotal moment in the cultural history of San Luis Obispo. It set in motion a series of events that led to the creation of Mission Plaza and, later, to the establishment of the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.
Many of the works by Channing Peake featured in A Time and A Place show the confluence of two powerful currents in 20th century art: Cubism and Abstract Expressionism. But if those were major influences, Peake also explored other approaches to painting during a career that spanned six decades. Over the course of his life, he produced a body of work that is original, diverse, spirited, and frequently arresting in its pure expressive power. To assess Peake’s full career, and to convey the breadth and depth of his art, a new documentary film is now in development. It is tentatively titled Channing Peake: Discovering an American Master. For more inforamtion, please see (link to Channing Peake Documentary Project).
The illustrated catalog of the exhibit A Time and A Place: The Artistic Encounter between Channing Peake & Elaine Badgley Arnoux. 1956-1962 can be seen at (link to pdf of ATAP catalog).