PAINTINGS

SELECTED PIECES

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  • WALKIN' NY
  • THE WALL
  • DON'T SHED NO TEARS
  • GOOD TIMES
  • ERASURE-Leah Peterson
  • ALL

BIOGRAPHY

PUBLISHED EXCERPTS

    Denis Peterson earned a Painting MFA and teaching fellowship at Pratt Institute where he taught figure drawing while restoring 16th and 17th century Flemish paintings for public museum collections. Among the first Photorealists to emerge in New York, his photorealist paintings were exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, one of the premier art institutions in the world. His more recent hyperrealist works have shown at major museums and galleries throughout the US and Europe.

    Many of Denis Peterson's groundbreaking paintings can be found among some of the most notable art collections worldwide. He is widely recognized as the primary architect of Hyperrealism, a splinter movement from the more traditional painting genre of Photorealism which systemically idealized and fetishized icons of contemporary culture in a detached and at times, banal framework.

    Abandoning traditional conventions, Peterson illuminated commodification of alternate realities found within that same contemporary culture: mass consumerism, systemic classism and societal decadence. He portrays anonymous ordinary people caught up in contemporary conflicts, neither glorifying nor heroising them. They are simply deserving of having their likeness recorded as any famous person, and more importantly, of having their humanity recognized.

    A radical painter, Peterson's compelling virtuosity addresses the timeless human condition with precision and dignity. Denis Peterson's socially conscious paintings are the products of an extraordinary labor of compassion. Art the Whole Story Thames & Hudson 40,000 Years of Creativity Rizzoli Publishing A Brush Stroke for Every Human Suffering Siletz Denis Peterson Wikipedia 2017 Hyperrealism Catalog Olomouc MOMA

MEDIA QUOTES

ART CRITICS/SHOW REVIEWS

Peterson with large airbrushed painting


ARTIST

STATEMENT



    My early paintings in the late 1960s and early 1970s were among an emerging new genre, Photorealism, that rapidly became a mainstream school of art following Abstract Expressionism and POP Art. Their photographic appearance was not achieved by meticulously duplicating details in a photo.

    The illusion was primarily created through subtle tonal changes and inter-relationships of abstract shapes as elements of composition, without which my work would have lost much of its visceral energy.

    Airbrushing acrylic paints provided the luxury of blending colors optically, that is, directly on the canvas through glazes. Combined opaque and transparent applications achieved considerably wider tonal articulation in compositional lighting and shading.

    By not having to plan ahead with pre-mixed colors on a palette, impromptu decisions could be made during the process of simulated image creation; leaving me much greater latitude for spontaneous and immediate adjustments directly on the canvas.

    My newer work evolved into a more advanced painting genre, one which I initially termed Hyperrealism after studying the philosopher Jean Baudrillard's compelling treatises identifying hyperrealism as an alternate reality surrounding us.

    As a painting genre, hyperrealism was an extension of photorealism, but sans its more conventional aesthetics. It was deliberately polymorphic, adding a new dynamic to challenge perceptions through altered illusions of reality and phantasmagorical visual statements.

    It is no longer enough to secure the painting as a realist object in mundane frames of reference, i.e. objectified themes, banal subjects, or staged settings. As a counter culture school of painting, hyperrealism is a visual excursion of alternate realities (hyper-reality) secured in an existential frame of reference: the human condition.

    In my genocide series Don't Shed No Tears for example, sometimes haunting images provoke and challenge our sensibilities, our perceptions, the appearance of reality and of illusion. As paintings, they are aesthetic compositions carefully crafted as visual statements confronting the ordered, the disordered, the connected, and the unconnected.

    - • -

    "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. The everyday nature of the subject matter of the paintings likewise worked to secure the painting as a realist object.

    The photorealist genre, however, is clearly more than just an attempt to replicate the mechanical action of taking a photograph. It also intervened in a debate that is as old as photography itself: to what extent is a photograph simply a reflection of reality, or to what extent does it mediate the reality it is representing?"

    American Culture in the 20th Century Edinburgh University Press UK Art & Artists Tate Modern

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