Christopher Pelley


Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Canadian parents, raised in New England, lived in Arizona, traveled extensively across Europe, India and Mexico and now living in New York City, Christopher Pelley’s paintings reflect his diverse cultural and geographic experiences. “Richly painted and abundant with metaphoric imagery the works are not only aesthetically pleasing but intellectually complex” states Julie Sasse, curator of Modern & Contemporary Art at the Tucson Museum of Art. Critic Joyce Korotkin adds “[Pelley] forces the past and present to co-exist on the same plane echoing the manner in which successive civilizations rise and fall on top of one another.”

His approach to the craft of painting is traditional; linen or canvas is stretched over supports, sized with rabbit skin glue and primed with paste that at one time would have been made of lead and linseed oil, but is now made from the less toxic titanium dioxide. The layers of paint are built up over time with glazes, impastos and scumbles. Sometimes the surface is sanded down to reveal a glimpse of what is underneath or simply to abrade the image.

It might be difficult to categorize Pelley’s work into a specific genre. He is a realist at heart, capable of rendering subjects with the deftness of an old master, but he also has an eye for the purely abstract. His work has been acquired by a growing number of public and private collections including the Austin Museum of Art in Austin, Texas, The Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, North Carolina and the Hechinger Collection in Washington, DC.




  • 1975-77 Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, BFA Summa Cum Laude
  • 1973-75 Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY


  • 2014 A Brief History of Fashion Christopher Pelley/recent drawings Illinois Central College, East Peoria, IL
  • 2012 MIRABILIA URBIS ROMAE Christopher Pelley/new works, Palazzo Delfini, Rome, Italy
  • 2011 Roman Laundry (bucato alla romana) installation, Rome, Italy
  • 2010 It’s Our Pleasure to Serve You, Vizivarosi Gallery, Budapest, Hungary
  • 2008 Deception of Desire, Larsen Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
  • 2005 Apocrypha, Ogilvie Pertl Gallery, Chicago, IL
    Lexicon, Abbozzo Gallery, Oakville, ON
    Recurrent Themes, Larsen Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
  • 2004 Journeys (to places I’ve never seen), Cultural Exchange Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
  • 2003 Chinoiserie, Robischon Gallery, Denver, CO
  • 2002 Ancient Histories, West Valley Art Museum, Surprise, AZ
  • 2001 Ancient Histories, The Cultural Exchange Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
  • 2000 The Times of the Day, The Cultural Exchange Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ Labyrinthine, Visual Arts Gallery, County College of Morris, Randolph, NJ
  • 1999 Abbozzo Gallery, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
  • 1999 Monique Goldstrom Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1997 Arts in the Academy, The National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC
  • 1997 The Cultural Exchange, Scottsdale, AZ
  • 1993 Bentley Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
  • 1989 Marilyn Butler Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ
  • 1988 Marilyn Butler Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ
  • 1987 Saxon Lee Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
  • 1986 Marilyn Butler Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ
  • 1983 Marilyn Butler Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ
  • 1982 John Douglas Cline Gallery, Phoenix, AZ


  • 2013 A Show of Hands, Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ
    Inaugural Exhibition, Front Art Space, New York, NY
  • 2010 A I R, Duna Gallery, Budapest, Hungary
  • 2008 10 years: Hungarian International Artists Residents, Vizivarosi Gallery, Budapest, Hungary
    Artists at Large – Selections from the permanent Collection, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, PA
  • 2007 Individual Format, Pickled Art Center, Beijing, China
    Extreme Media, Balatonfured Congress Center, Balatonfured, Hungary
    Summer!, Applegate Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
  • 2006 Do It Yourself: the Art of Tools, Phoenix Airport Museum, Phoenix, AZ
    In the Viewing Room: Paintings by David Kroll, Christopher Pelley and Jamie Brunson, Robischon Gallery, Denver, CO  Focus, Larsen Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
  • 2005 Toronto International Art Fair, Toronto. ON
  • 2004 Small Wonders, Ogilvie-Pertl Gallery, Chicago, IL
  • 2003 Dichotomies, Robischon Gallery, Denver, CO Water, Abbozzo Gallery, Oakville, ON, Canada
  • 2001 Looking at Landscape, Abbozzo Gallery, Oakville, ON, Canada
  • 1999 Magic Realism, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, PA
  • 1998 Hindsight, Joseph Gross Gallery, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
  • 1998 Space and Surface, Monique Goldstrom Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1995 Incontro/Encounter, Tribeca 148 Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1995 Buoys: Marking the Place, Renegade Spaces Exhibition, curated by Bill Bace, New York, NY (catalogue)
  • 1994 The Box Show, K & E Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1994 Italy-America, Castello di Ducale, Crecchio, Italy (catalogue)
  • 1994 Reality and Beyond, BEMIS Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE
  • 1994 10X10: Ten Dealers Pick Ten Artists, Tribeca 148 Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1994 Fifty Nifty Objects, AHI Gallery, curated by Michael Walls, New York, NY
  • 1994 Varied Visions: Interpretations of the Landscape, Virginia Miller Gallery, Coral Gables, FL
  • 1993 Art of the Spirit, The Center for Transcultural Exchange, New York, NY
  • 1993 Contemporary Realists, Bentley Tomlinson Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
  • 1992 Evento, APE Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1990 Monotypes from the Sharokh Rezvani Workshop, Nelson Fine Arts Center, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
  • 1990 Musical Instruments in Art, Scottsdale Center for the Arts, Scottsdale, AZ
  • 1989 Tools, San Francisco Airports Commission Exhibition Program, San Francisco, CA (catalogue)
  • 1988 Four Square Feet, Sazama Brauer Gallery, Chicago, IL
  • 1988 Food in Art, Arizona Museum for Youth, Mesa, AZ
  • 1987 The Current Landscape, Felicita Foundation for the Arts, Escondido, CA (catalogue)
  • 1987 Point of View: Landscapes by Martha Armstrong, Jane Everhart and Christopher Pelley, Sazama Brauer Gallery, Chicago IL
  • 1986 Landscape in the Age of Anxiety, Lehman College Art Gallery, The City University of New York, The Bronx, NY, and The Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH (catalogue)
  • 1985 The Romantic Landscape, Monique Knowlton Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1985 Southwest ’85, Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM (catalogue)
  • 1985 New Masks for Modern Living-An Invitational, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ


  • 2012 Creatives in Residence, Hangzhou China, catalogue
  • 2010 Budai Polgar, July 10, exhibition review, photo
    Pesti Est, July 1, exhibition review, photo
  • 2008 Tribune-Democrat, December14, Ruth Price, exhibition review
  • 2003 Denver Westword, April 10, Michael Paglia, exhibition review Oakville Beaver, July 11, Craig MacBride, exhibition review, photo
  • 2002 Philadelphia Inquirer, March 12, Edward Owen, exhibition review Amarillo Globe News, April 12, Alan J, Heavens, exhibition review, photo The Arizona Republic, June 23, John Carlos Villani, exhibition review, photo
  • 2000 Santa Fean, January, Jeanette Alt, article, photo
  • 1999 N Y Arts, Vol 4, #12, Joyce Korotkin, article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 21, Mary Thomas, exhibition review Cover, Vol 12, #2, Joyce Korotkin, exhibition review, photo
  • 1998 M The New York Art World, December, Joyce Korotkin, article
  • 1994 Omaha World-Herald, Sept. 16, Kyle MacMillan, exhibition review, photo
  • 1993 Arizona Republic, January 10, Richard Nilsen, exhibition review
  • 1989 Scottsdale Daily Progress, Nov. 23, Joe Young, exhibition review, photo
  • 1989 Arizona Republic, Dec. 1, Richard Nilsen, exhibition review, photo
  • 1987 Los Angeles Times, Feb. 27, Colin Gardner, exhibition review
  • 1987 San Diego Union, Oct. 8, Robert Pincus, exhibition review
  • 1987 Los Angeles Times, Oct. 16, Leah Ollman, exhibition review
  • 1986 Art Week, Jan. 25, Victoria Beaudin, exhibition review, photo
  • 1986 Phoenix Gazette, Jan. 15, David Eskes, article, photo
  • 1985 Art in America, September, David Bell, exhibition review, photo
  • 1985 Phoenix Home and Garden, September, Ellie Schultz, article, photo
  • 1985 Scottsdale Daily Progress, September 13, Victoria Beaudin, installation review, photo
  • 1984 Arizona Republic, September 12, Richard Nilsen, exhibition review
  • 1984 New Times Weekly, September 19, Chuck Andresen, exhibition review, photo
  • 1983 Arizona Arts and Travel, March/April, Carol Kotrozo, exhibition review
  • 1983 Artspace Magazine, Spring, Barbara Cortright, exhibition review, photo


  • 2014 Shangyuan Modern Art Museum, Beijing, China
  • 2012 Creatives in Residence, Sun Hoo Industrial Design Park, FuYang, China
  • 2007 Ucross Foundation, Clearmont, WY
  • Red Gate Artist Residency, Beijing, China
  • 2006 International Artist’s Residency, Budapest, Hungary


  • American Express Corporation, New York, NY
  • Arizona State University Art Collections, Tempe, AZ
  • Austin Museum of Art, Laguna Gloria
  • Grand Hyatt Hotel, Washington, DC
  • Hungarian Multicultural Center, Budapest, Hungary
  • Hyatt Regency Hotel, Greenwich, CT
  • McDonalds Corporation, Oakbrook, IL
  • Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC
  • Mountain Bell, Denver, CO
  • National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC
  • Noki Hotel, Chicago, IL
  • Progressive Corporation, Cleveland, OH
  • Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, PA
  • Specialized Systems, Westerville, OH
  • Tools as Art: The Hechinger Collection, Washington, DC
  • U.S. West, Denver, CO
  • Valley National Bank, Phoenix, AZ