Excerpted from Wikipediaand two art history textbooks designating Peterson's work a historical landmark: Art the Whole Story and From Cave Painting to Street Art.
"Denis Peterson's paintings have shown at Butler Institute of American Art, Whitney, Smithsonian, Tate Modern, Brooklyn Museum, Corcoran MPA, and Springville Museum. Peterson taught drawing at LI University, State University NY and Pratt, where he attained an MFA in Painting and Art History. While exhibiting in New York, he restored Renaissance paintings for public museums and art collections.
One of the first Photorealists to emerge in New York, Peterson is widely regarded as an early architect of Hyperrealism, a counter-culture splinter art movement founded on the aesthetic principles of Photorealism, but without its traditional conventions. Peterson set out to distinguish Hyperrealism from Photorealism; making meticulous alterations in depth of field, color and composition to emphasize dynamic visual messages about contemporary culture. Photorealism idealized and often fetishized a detached framework of banal urban decadence while Peterson's engaging Hyperrealism illuminated its mass consumerism, systemic classism and cultural decadence.
His socially conscious works are the products of an extraordinary labor of compassion, known for their signature nuances: altered depths of field, subtle color transitions, illusional perspectives and spatially complex compositions. A radical painter, Peterson's compelling virtuosity addresses the human condition with precision and dignity."
"The fundamental component in Denis Peterson's dynamic works is not necessarily the subject of the painting, but with man's proximity to it. Denis' paintings address the banality of the human condition, whether it be the streets of New York or the fields of Darfur." Thomas Paul, Thomas Paul Fine Arts
"Emotional empathy with his subjects distinguishes Peterson’s work from the cooler response of Photorealists. Foregrounding figures combined with softer focus of their environment and extreme attention to physiognomic expression convey a sense of inwardness and reflective self-consciousness." Olomouc Museum of Art
"Peterson portrays the anonymous, ordinary people caught up in contemporary conflicts, neither glorifying nor heroising them. They are simply as deserving of having their likeness recorded as any famous or ‘important’ person, and more importantly, deserve simply to have their humanity recognized." Dr. Kenneth Hay, Chair of Contemporary Art Practice, Leeds University
"Denis Peterson, Audrey Flack, Richard Estes and Chuck Close worked from photographic stills to create paintings. The hyperrealist genre is clearly more than an attempt to replicate a photograph." American Culture in the 20th Century, Edinburgh University Press
"Denis Peterson distinguished hyperrealism from photorealism making meticulous changes to a work's depth of field, color and composition in order to emphasize a socially conscious message about contemporary culture." Art: The Whole Story, Thames and Hudson Publishing
"One demonstration of the way photography became assimilated into the art world is the success of photorealist painting in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It is also called super-realism or hyper-realism and painters like Richard Estes, Denis Peterson, Audrey Flack, and Chuck Close often worked from photographic stills to create paintings that appeared to be photographs." Tate Modern
"In his work, Peterson asserts a man of negligible social status who inhabits the lowest stratum of society is just as worthy of having his portrait painted as any titled individual or famous person and just as deserving of having his humanity recognized." From Cave Painting to Street Art - 40,000 Years of Creativity, Rizzoli Publishing
"In creating these painstaking, handmade works, Mr. Peterson is working in an artistic tradition that goes as far back as the Renaissance. The results speak for themselves. His timeless compositions lead the pack in hyperrealism painting." Globe and Mail
"Peterson's semiotic paintings are more deliberate polymorphic illusions of reality and considerably less monolithic than those found in traditional photorealism. These works invite wonder both for their high standard of craftsmanship and the individual vision of the artist." Art and Antiques Magazine
"These photorealistic works are visually compelling; often bearing witness to historical evidence of grotesque mistreatment of people by governments, societies, and systemic classism." John Bathke, Cable News 12
"Artist Denis Peterson leaves onlookers impressed with his real life scenes showing cities around the world - but gobsmacked when they realise every inch of these pictures are painted." European Union Times
"As metaphors that tell our current society's story, these images expose the doubt and vulnerability that many in this nation feel, but they also bring a sense of humanity that can unite us and help us feel the burdens borne by our fellow citizens." Art Reflects Truth, Deseret News
"Peterson's hyperrealism incorporates POP culture within an existential frame of reference. Phantasmagorical, these optically convincing images are their own simulacra: altered realities challenging verisimilitude, perception and illusion." Illustrato Magazine
"At first glance some of his works look like a simple billboard over a busy urban setting. But on closer inspection the hidden secret is revealed - people and obscure reflections on background windows have been conjured up by his brushstrokes." UK Daily Mail
"This instance of hyperrealism is a performance art. Viewers are deliberately made to notice the amazing amount of time and painstaking effort that went into portraying this. Peterson isn't showing off; he is a radical painter, compelling us with his dedication." Ari Siletz - A Brush Stroke for Every Human Suffering
"This is an artist who has chosen to use his art as a humanitarian effort to change the world, as seen in his stunning Darfur paintings on genocide." Brenda Blockman, WOR TV
"His latest series is a showcase for how far he can take his abilities: he is, really, an Olympic-level athlete of painting. Denis is in a class by himself. He is the Michael Phelps of painting, the Usain Bolt of airbrush and paintbrush. He makes Vermeer look like Jackson Pollock. " Chris Rywalt - NYC ART, Urban Perspectives
"Very beautiful and so exquisitely crafted I initially took them for photographs. Peterson's work is serious, sophisticated, politically and morally engaged." Robert Ayers, Art Info
"Somewhere during the process of painting, Peterson imbues something of himself into the work, which is why his images succeed where his contemporaries do not. Devoid of any human presence, his locations are ripe for ghosts, the atmosphere heavy with unassuaged yearning." Rik Rawling - Keep it Hyperreal
"Peterson's work addresses a sense of loss, pain/angst concerning our position in a culture dominated by corporate America. People are viewed (once again) as individuals, though caught in the overwhelming commodification of everything, some so completely lost, that they are no longer individuals." John Bittinger Klomp, "Denis Peterson - His Metamodernist/Hyperrealist Art
"Peterson's work exemplifies cityscape photorealism at its best. Precision, color and exactitude are extraordinarily rich in both technique and composition." Corcoran - McLean Project for the Arts
"The incredible realism of life on the streets in Denis Peterson's hyperreal paintings bewilders viewers." Butler Institute of American Art
"To witness genocide is to feel not only the chill of your own mortality, but the degradation of all humanity. Even the most brilliant photography cannot capture the landscape of genocide." Fergal Keane, BBC TV
"Gottfried Helnwein, Denis Peterson, and Craig Wylie are all hyperrealist artists who use their work to send a social message. These artists aggressively and unapologetically confront the human condition with their hyperrealist narrative which serves as a commentary on social and political issues." Plus One Gallery
"They are the images of everyday life, snapshots of a busy, sometimes lonely, existence. But there's a difference. The images are not photos, but paintings! Only a handful of artists can achieve this result." Denham Htchcock, Australian News MSN TV
"Peterson's paintings have a timeless symbolic meaning rather than the mere appearance of a photo ...breaking from the structures of photography as an acceptable simulation of reality and instead creating a sense of personalization and interaction." Joshua Rose, American Art Collector Magazine
"Denis Peterson brought unacknowledged subjects to the gallery ... his works are arresting, forcing viewers to confront genocide, homelessness, and totalitarianism." Colton Valentine, The Huffington Post
"Perhaps one approach an artist might take is sheer commitment. One might make painted images that are so highly crafted, detailed, and labor intensive, that so earnestly suggest every pore and thread, that the message is simply, I believe, and I care. Look at this. It is important. Perhaps this is what Peterson has done." C. Ashley, Look See
"Living with artwork differs from briefly witnessing art on exhibition. All of Peterson's works are well-made, capture attention at the surface level, and provoke immediate admiration of technique. This makes them visual arguments that can be lived with while one works into the deeper levels of discourse." Carleton Palmer, NY Examainer