February 27 – April 24, 2016

Michael J. Peery, detail of The Kiss, 2016, oil on linen, collection of the artist.
Detail of The Kiss, 2016, oil on linen, collection of the artist.

This exhibition, the second in the Lyman Allyn’s Near :: New contemporary series, shows recent work by New London artist, Michael Peery. Featured are two large canvases rendering an imaginary scene entitled The Kiss, a private moment in a public house that may raise more questions than it answers. The first canvas, completed in 2002, apparently begged for a new version, which was just recently finished. Displayed in between the two, are seven large and commanding charcoal studies revealing part of the artist’s reconsideration of the subject and his development of the new painting. Along with these primary works, and further documenting Peery’s process, is a display of several additional visual moments along the journey. A video, presented on a flat screen also installed in the Glassenberg Gallery, extends the exploration of the genesis and realization of the painting, and completes this window into the work within the studio and the consciousness of the artist. Several other recent canvases showing different subject material round out the exhibition of contemporary figurative work.

Artist Statement
by Michael J. Peery

Some ideas are fragile and seem incapable of withstanding close scrutiny or the test of time. Others do stand up and join the backlog of imagery in my mind that insistently call out to be realized.

This exhibition has provided me with the chance to address many of these that seem to linger and remain, no matter how I develop artistically. These have been captured in sketchbooks, bar napkins, and/or other scraps of paper, and are the sources for many of the images in this exhibition.

The genre of narrative painting enables me to explore metaphor, symbolism and ambiguities that other genres, in my opinion, tend to restrict. The best narrative paintings ask questions left unanswered by the painter. It is the viewer, rather than the artist, who is tasked with finishing the narrative in their own personal way.

I am inviting the viewer here to see my process for developing an idea–how I proceed from conception to completion. By using thumbnail sketches, color studies, and preliminary drawings, I hope to show how this process provides me with some answers–though not all–and visual and thematic guidance for the finished work Time and Again is a journey I started many years ago, and one that will remain underway–in sketchbooks, bar napkins, or finished canvases–for many years to come.

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