Sunday, June 18, 2006

Read 2nd - Part2 Peter Waite

Peter Waite (check out previous blog for info on show)

Fast track... The one sentence version of this writing for people in a hurry.
"The fact that these paintings compell me to value humanity by being affected by the lack of it, is the power of these pieces. " isobel

These paintings elicite this response to me.

1. I loved the silky quality of tha paint that comes across because it is painted on a smooth thin board. The smokey colors and the streaking give it a slightly weathered feel which matches the almost mysterious atmospheric feel that enhances the realistic painting style. The streaks are all in the same direction *point down, but possibly across as well as I recollect" and consist of different pure colors like white, yellow, red, or blue. From a distance it looks like it could be scratched but the streaks are lines of paint.

2. The size of the paintings are huge and make an impact by their mere size in the gallery. The scale of the subject matter makes you feel very small and insignificant and sad or lonely. There is a film quality, like old scratched footage and settings for crime scenes or other imagined naratives and I felt like I was walking into a story.

3. There are no people in the paintings. They all are spaces that could and sometimes should have people, even a lot of people like Grand Central Station. The architecture has a huge presence, but where are the people? This leaves one with a feeling of insignificance and lonliness, an awareness of the colassal presence of the architecture when people arn't around. Much of this architecture was designed during a time period when American cities were copying the 17the century European cities grandouis - as well as some institutional architecture from the facist era - which defies the human scale. Politically, this kind of architecture indicated that governing bodies like Kings and Facist rulers were grand, but made the people insignificant. New York copied this because it symbolized greatness in city architecture. Other of his subjects are as simple as a swimming pool or a dining hall, which drives home the point that the subject is incomplete without the people who use these things. There are indications of people, a chair moved out of place, just the knowledge that people should be there. This leaves us feeling alienated and devoid of warmth. The fact that these paintings compell me to feel humanity by being affected by the lack of it, is the power of these pieces. There are other artists that present this message and the characteristics of the painting also disturbs, in this case, I feel that the lovely quality of Peter's surfaces balance the disturbing feelings and just make the whole body of work interesting and compelling. Is this work is more interesting to people with an exposure to Europen and Ameriacan social-architectural history? These ideas are pretty much my response before reading.

4. Now I have read the reviews,. I am moved further by a number of things but won't mention them all. One direction is the relationship to photography and how photography allowed us to see things. My thought is that this painting is kind of copying a photographers view. One is that a number of his subject matter relates to power, both the monuments of power signifying greatness like the Nazi's tried to do and an industrialized power in factories or power plants which is a kind of scary authority because the industrial power grid affects us so much. We don't have power if the lights go out. This reinforces his theme of human individual insignificance - and the authority of organizational public works. The side effect to me of these vacuous spaces is an acknowlecgement of how much I miss humanity and the human scale and touch in life, therefore, how significant humanity is... it's the whole of life!

1 comment:

Rebecca Bush said...

Thanks for this review, Isobel. I just took a brief look at his paintings on his website. I have to admit that I am not sure I would want to visit them in person-- seeing the bleak subject matter and considering the size, I can imagine that I would feel sucked into that world and I'm not sure I want to go! Yet, I will never know if I don't visit in person, will I? I can read the reviews and everything, but I'll have to experience it for myself. If the show is only up til the end of the month, that will not happen since I won't return til July 1st.