9 September - 29 October, 2023
CRESCENT: A Solo Exhibition by Peter Peri
Shanghai—Pearl Lam Galleries is pleased to present Crescent, the third exhibition in a series of three by London-based artist Peter Peri. Part of a long-term exploration of the language of abstraction, Peri’s rhythmic artworks encourage audiences to consider the potential for embodiment and becoming within art.
The exhibition title, Crescent, refers to the concept of ‘concrescent unison’, which was proposed by British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead in 1929. Whilst the term ‘crescent’ usually alludes to the shape of the moon’s curvature, Whitehead drew on its etymological root, which signifies growth, to express his idea of universal becoming. The many arcs and crescents present in the exhibition offer a related analogy—and act as paradoxical symbols of both finite form and infinite process.
Abstraction, for Peri, is a deliberate action of filling the void by means of imagination to instigate growth. The geometry of line and intersection in his paintings is precisely composed and minutely executed. Individual elements work closely together to form holistic systems. In an era increasingly defined by the transformative impact of artificial intelligence, Crescent emerges as a commentary on our individual perceptions of space and evolving time.
On display are two series of paintings: Syntonic Rhythm and Bi-logic. The concept of ‘syntony’, a harmonious alignment of frequencies that result in a collective epiphany, serves as a guiding principle in this exhibition. The Syntonic Rhythm series makes reference to the dichotomy between measured ‘clock time’ and the real feeling of time within duration as it is actually experienced. In these paintings, the picture surface becomes the arena for a transformative process of experimentation with colour. Peri approaches colour intuitively, often lingering with one hue, then swiftly transitioning across the spectrum. The picture plane is severed by diagonal cuts, dividing the colour fields into alternate sequences based on pre-planned sets and correspondences. Such deliberate fragmentation is poignant in works, such as Syntonic Rhythm (Inverted Landscape) and Syntonic Rhythm (Evening Landscape), evoking parallels with classical Chinese landscape painting in pen and ink. The sheer scale of paintings in this series stages stasis per se, in part to subvert constructs of memory, and even time itself.
The Bi-logic series offers a formal structure of contrasting symmetrical and asymmetrical elements as visual analogies for unconscious and conscious aspects of the mind. The dynamic interplay of pattern and context resonates with the relationship of organism with environment, as well as current ecological and societal challenges. Peri approaches the canvas with preplanned sets of colour divisions that correspond or diverge in the foreground and background. The tension produced by opposing binaries illustrates the interpenetrations of the conscious and unconscious mind, mirroring the complexities of real life. Trompe l’oeil shadows evident in works such as Starry Wheel (Bi-logic) and Bi-logic Study 6
simulate an in-between state of figuration and abstraction, of line and volume, accumulation and division, unity and dissonance. Ultimately, the works in this series evoke a sense of foreclosure, reminiscent of loops or labyrinths, inviting viewers to delve into intricate narratives within confined spaces.
The exhibition is divided into three distinct areas, allowing for the presentation of three independent enclaves. Each enclave encompasses a self-referential narrative. The placement of artworks follows the principles of merging, as in Chinese painting, of different spatial planes, prompting viewers to reconsider their spatial perception and experience of the temporal. As they travel from the corridor leading to the various spaces within the exhibition, a deliberate dissonance is provoked. This strategic disruption, drawn from perspectival concepts often associated with Western art, invites observers to confront a new vantage point from which to experience Peri’s creation.