PETER ACHESON: RUSTED GIACOMETTI
***PETER ACHESON: RUSTED GIACOMETTI extended through November 24***
Curated by JJ Manford and Peter Acheson
October 13 – November 17
Opening Sunday October 13, 7pm
Rusted Giacometti, a title culled from the surface of one of Peter’s text paintings, spans three decades of exploration, from Peter’s early collages and painting of the 1980’s, which mark his language-heavy digestion of Native American symbolism, and the mythic ethos of Jan Mueller and Marsden Hartley, through his time spent in Williamsburg in the mid 80’s to early 90’s in close dialogue with such painter brethren as Kathy Bradford, Chris Martin, Rick Briggs and Bill Jensen, sharing in their mutual fascination with the paintings of Forrest Bess. Then, the work follows Peter into the woods, through his move upstate, where he continues to practice, witness to babbling brooks, nature’s uninterrupted cycles, and the occasional gnome sighting.
Peter paints with a lexicon of linear marks, and archaic symbols which are sometimes arranged in ways that push and vibrate the plain outward, but this does not account for the paintings’ expansiveness. It is because they are emphatically not predetermined that they do not imply any ideas about wholeness or completeness, just presence.
It is in Peter’s insistently unselfconscious approach to painting where he seems to be fighting against recognition, in order to flirt with the abyss. When too much thinking gets in the way, Peter takes action and thrusts us back into the realm of perception. This is not about understanding, but looking and being.
Very little indicates a separation between the vastness of nature, and the vastness barely contained within these painted objects. Peter is aware of this condition, but is careful not to fetishize it. Whether it is a signature, a seashell, or a cutout cat, Peter has developed a repertoire of devices for stopping a painting before it ventures into the familiar or the overly romantic. He is the one and only caretaker of his fields.
Although this show represents several dips into the barn, a little red vault stuffed to the gills with painted gems and sculpture, located in the field next to Acheson’s studio, as well as a thorough round of contemplation and editing, it is but one iteration of many possible exhibitions of his oeuvre, curated with (in Peter’s words) a ‘focused attention to balance, curves, and method as content.’
—JJ Manford (10.7.13)
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