Art department showcases work from local painter

Peter Liashkov discusses his art to students at the Pierce College Lecture Hall located at the Art Department on Thursday, March 14, 2013 in Woodland Hills, Calif. Photo: Monica Salazar

Marduk Cano, an art major, observes a piece of Peter Lishkov's art during the gallery's opening on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif. Photo: Monica Salazar

Tyler Crouse, currently studying graphic design, looks at one of Peter Lishkov's art pieces during the opening day on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif. Photo: Monica Salazar

Peter Liashkov, left, talks to Mikhail Matusevich, a Kinesiology major, at the Pierce College art gallery on Thursday, March 14, 2013 in Woodland Hills, Calif. Photo: Monica Salazar

Art aficionados filed into the Pierce College Art Gallery in anticipation of Los Angeles-based contemporary artist Peter Liashkov’s lecture on Thursday evening for the opening of his exhibition.

Liashkov, a self-described Californian, came to America in the late 1950s where he became an apprentice under Russian figural painter Sergei Bongart. In 1973, he had his first gallery showing at the Ruth Schaffner Gallery in Santa Barbara, Calif.

He is best known for his depictions of the human form that range from realistic to abstract, and utilization of a wide array of materials to convey a three-dimensional tactile quality on a two-dimensional platform.

His materials range from crushed glass to powdered pigment. He creates a textures to convey emotion and tell a story.

“The material is very important. The material suggests certain things in the story that I want to tell,” Liashkov said.

He uses bits of nylon fabric, for example, to depict the fragile makeup of an older person’s skin, transporting the viewer and  materializing the of the subject matter in the piece.

“When I [paint] an old woman and I bring in elements of nylon that looks like decayed skin, it’s like you’re looking with your eyes, but you’re feeling inside the body what it feels like to be that old,” Liashkov said. “I want the viewer to respond emotionally.”

Above all, he is a storyteller. He says that, if he wasn’t a painter, he would probably be a filmmaker.

“Topography of Memory,” the Pierce exhibition, is a sampling of Liashkov’s artwork compiled by Monika Del Bosque, gallery director and assistant professor of art at Pierce.

“I selected [the artwork] with an eye for the gallery based upon what I knew would look well as far as the layout and space considerations,” Del Bosque said.

Del Bosque chose which pieces would be displayed, and students in Pierce’s exhibition design class put the entire exhibition together.

“In a matter of five weeks, they have learned enough to be able to install a show professionally,” Del Bosque said. “They have done an amazing, incredible job.”

Students in the class hung the artwork, handled the lighting, layout, design, and labeling of the exhibition, a task that was daunting for some.

“In the beginning, it was scary. But after working with the art, it kind of placed itself,” exhibition design student Madeline Weiss, 19, said. “[The artist] has passion for his art and it shone through the work. It made it easy.”

In the installation that is displayed in the exhibit, there is a broken mirror on the floor reflecting the face of a man.

During the process of setting up the art, Liashkov himself dropped by to crush the mirror in the gallery until it was suitable to his aesthetic, but he left all other aspects of the exhibition up to Del Bosque and her students.

“He left it completely in our hands,” Bianca Pfiefroth, 25, said. “We felt comfortable and trusted each other.”

The gallery also debuted a scannable QR code that provides gallery visitors with an interactive way to view the art.

Visitors can download an app to scan QR codes placed next to the artworks with a smartphone to watch a video about the piece.

The task of setting up the QR codes was no easy feat, according to Del Bosque.

The process took a whole day of filming and editing. Codes had to be linked and videos had to be synced, but she said this is another way to use the gallery as a teaching tool.

“Topography of Memory” runs through April 17 at the Art Gallery. Contact the Art Department at 818-710-2262 for more information. Liashkov is on the web at


Erika Correa


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