Monday, February 16, 2009

Remote Viewing: Peter Acheson

Peter Acheson Untitled 2004, oil on board, 8" x 10"
Maykr pal Peter Acheson is currently exhibiting a selection of his language paintings at Brick Walk Fine Art in West Hartford, CT through March 14.
Since I won't be able to make it over to West Hartford before the end of the exhibit, I asked gallery director Kevin Rita to kindly email me some photos of the show. I'm sharing a few of them here with you. Because that's just how I am; unselfishly giving.
Most of the works in this show span the period between 2002 and 2005. The exhibit also includes a selection of his framed watercolors. I've focused on the paintings on panel and canvas because they translate better in the photographs. The small, immediate nature of this work is very indicative of one strain of Peter's activity. Based on a rural compound in Ghent NY, Acheson is feverishly prolific, pushing the limits of visual language, and possibly even the limits of taste. His work is enmeshed in an assertive tangle of forms, color and line. They feel like language. Each intimately scaled joint is a stanza of some epic rambling concrete poem. I don't consider the marks in the paintings as pictograms. They're not stand ins for some other significance. I would consider them cryptograms, or better yet cryptoforms; they seem to allude to a secret knowledge, but their meaning is full frontal and endemic. There's nothing to know, just something to face.

Peter speaks to this aspect of marks made openly, directly and not caged in a mantle of metaphorical adornment. "Language is one of the tools we have to describe language is itself on display, without being processed into image, or maybe, the process of forming, like the tuning of the guitars before the performance..."
For me, engagement with Peter's work entails traveling on an arc of acceptance. It's always a process. With almost every new body of Peter's work I've felt at least some level of shock or repulsion as it pokes at some tender spot in my sense of visual decency. Inevitably though, I come around to the work, taking it for what it is, not what I expect it should be. I find the work emphatic in that way. It forces you on a trip you may not expect to take.

Brick Walk Fine Art is located at 322 Park Road, West Hartford, CT (860) 233-1730. Check it out if you get a chance. If you do, let me know what you think. I've posted a copy of the exhibit's press release here.

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