By Erin G. Edwards
Philmore Peterson V calls himself a “quiet, reserved guy,” but his first solo professional exhibition is anything but reserved.
In “Mind Trip,” the 24-year-old Texas native casts aside his inhibitions with a show of abstract compositions made up of vibrant colors, frenzied movements and layers upon layers of shapes and shadows.
In addition to abstract paintings, “Mind Trip” features monotype prints, drawings and woodwork.
The show, which runs through March 2 at Gallery 831, is a significant departure from Peterson’s past work, which included mostly figurative paintings and portraiture. His intention, he said, was to “get away from imposing control on the audience.”
“Breaking Point” — his most ambitious piece at 6 feet by 12 feet — was the start of his move away from figurative work, and he said its reception was encouraging.
“There is no human presence. … I found it fascinating that people were really drawn to this piece because there’s nothing that they can relate to besides the feeling it produced,” he said.
Peterson, a graduate of Ohio State’s MFA program, draws from a variety of source materials such as graffiti, Japanese prints, autographs, calligraphy and even spills he finds on the ground.
Seeing a particular shape on the ground, Peterson will think to himself: “Wow, that’s really nice but … it could be better,” he said, laughing. “I’m going to put that in my work.”
The forms may start from humble beginnings, but Peterson tugs at them and exaggerates them until he feels they’ve reached a certain potential.
“Breaking Point” and equally striking “The Funky Side of Life” incorporate oil and acrylic paints, with acrylic modeling paste providing texture. Peterson said he “upped the ante” on color in this show, and he deftly transitions from warm to cool color palettes in several pieces.
Peterson enjoys using “down-to-earth” titles and often infuses them with humor as in “Another Wild Night with a Girl Named Caffeine,” an exuberant mixed-media work on Masonite.
Indeed, throughout “Mind Trip” you can almost see Peterson’s caffeine-greased synapses firing and hear the music that plays a big part in his creative inspiration.
It’s cerebral stuff.