Peter Peri at Bartolomi Gallery

Odilasque

Bortolami Gallery in New York City is currently featuring works by London based artist Peter Peri.  Peri’s show, which includes drawings, sculptures, and paintings, revolves around three figurative themes:  head, seated man, and reclining woman.  Although Peri uses these themes in each medium, his execution in each material is startlingly different.  The level of obsession and detail in the fine drawings which are created through a congestion of graphite lines on unbleached paper hint at a larger interpretation.  Upon further investigation the viewer discovers tiny obscure writing, miniature cartoon-like doodles, and his charming “Odalisque” drawing is a mirror-image rendering of Jean Auguste-Dominique Ingres‘ painting with the same title.

The three sculptures in the show, however, have an element of precariousness about them.  Each is an engineered replica in steel of objects Peri originally composed using mundane objects from his home: rolls of masking tape, cassette boxes, chess sets, and calculators.  Unlike the drawings, there does not seem to be any secret code or arcane meaning in these sculptures.  The basic geometry of each of these objects serves as the most obvious choices for Peri’s figurative assemblages; circles become breasts on a reclining woman, thick rectangles serve as a man’s body topped by a circle for a head.

Peri’s paintings successfully combine both the obsessive mark-making in his drawings with the spontaneity of his sculptures.  Described as “skewed mappings of an unknown atmosphere” by the gallery, these gloomy canvases are broken up by razor-sharp line work and tonal highlight.  The background is full of haphazard drips and variations of grays, silvers and blacks, while the geometry of the lines call to mind the mathematical rigor of artists like Jack Tworkov and Sol LeWitt.

Peter Peri received his MA in Fine Art from the Chelsea College of Art in London and his BA in Design at Central St. Martins School of Art and Design.  His show at Bortolami Gallery in New York is open until February 20, 2010.

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