“Jason Peters: Refraction” at Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery, April 24-June 27
Fairfield University’s Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery presents its newest exhibition, “Jason Peters: Refraction,” on view Thursday, April 24, 2014, through Friday, June 27, 2014. An opening reception will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 24. A related Family Day event, “Shapes and Patterns,” will take place at the University’s Bellarmine Museum of Art, Bellarmine Hall, lower level, on Saturday, May 10, 2014, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Corporate sponsor for the exhibition is Visiflect by Lehigh. All events are free and open to the public.
Jason Peters (b. 1977) is fascinated by the destabilization of perception, creating illusory spaces and alternative realities with his work. Driven to create a sense of the sublime in his viewers, he amasses vast quantities of discarded objects from everyday life and reconfigures them in surprising and unexpected ways. The results take these “societal cast-offs” – contractors’ buckets, metal chair frames, lengths of rope – and invite the viewer to see beauty where there was once “garbage,” to discover calm where there was once only distraction.
Peters will create three new site-specific installations for this exhibition, including one that will respond directly to the forms and colors of “La Ragnatela/The Spiderweb: Works by Giampaolo Seguso from The Corning Museum of Glass,” which is on view at the Bellarmine Museum through Friday, June 13. Fairfield University student volunteers from a range of departments, including studio art, theatre, and mathematics, will assist Peters in transforming his visions into reality in the Walsh Gallery and the Leitao Lobby of the Quick Center.
Peters’s creative process is driven by a desire to create “visual happenings,” which are intended to provoke visceral responses in his viewers. What those responses might be, however, is entirely subjective, so the artist is more concerned with providing evocative prompts that jolt his audiences into active reflection. Using objects that can be massed in multiples to create geometric works, the artist takes his cues from his materials, which in the past have included crutches, chairs, cots, railroad ties and light bulbs.
Peters’s work builds on the tradition of “readymades,” which dates to the early 20th century when French artist Marcel Duchamp took the art world by storm with works such as his controversial “Fountain”(1917) – a urinal he transformed into a work of art by repositioning, signing, and titling it. Assemblage (in which found objects are combined to create new and expressive art works) is another inspiration, as is the work of artists such as Dan Flavin, whose light sculptures deeply resonate in Peters’s own work. Peters’s works also evoke contemporary considerations of consumer culture, globalism, waste, and environmental issues.
Born in the United States, Peters was raised in Munich, Germany. He returned to the States to attend the Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore, where he earned his BFA (cum laude) in 1999. Now based in Brooklyn, N.Y., Peters’s installations have been featured in numerous solo shows, including “Less Than < > More Than” (Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, N.J., 2013), “L.A. Deluxe” (Robert Berman Gallery, Los Angeles, Calif., 2012), “Reverse Polarities” (Project Room, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, N.Y., 2011), “Anti.Gravity.Material.Light” (Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, Okla., 2010), “Now you see it Now you don't” (Time Square Alliance, New York, N.Y., 2009), “Open And as Pointed as Possible” (Salina Arts Center, Salina, Kan., 2009), and “No more / No less” (White Flag Projects, St. Louis, Mo., 2008). Group shows include “MICA THEN / NOW” (Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, Kunstahalle Beacon, Beacon N.Y., 2013), “Designed to Win” (Kendall College of Art, Grand Rapids, Mich., 2013), “Bronx Calling” (2nd A.I.M. Biennial, Bronx Museum of Art, N.Y., 2013), “See the Pyramids along the Nile” (Englishkills Gallery, Brooklyn, N.Y., 2013), and “THANKS” (Lu Magnus Gallery, New York, N.Y., 2013). In addition Peters has received numerous commissions and awards from organizations such as Grounds for Sculpture (Hamilton, N.J.), See | Me Gallery (Long Island City, N.Y.), InLight Richmond Green Art Award (Rahway, N.J.), See Gallery (L.I.C., N.Y.), The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Penn.), The Friends Seminary (New York, N.Y.), Time Square Alliance (New York, N.Y.), and Salina Arts Center/Smokey Hill River Festival (Salina, Kan.).
The Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery is located in Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. The Gallery is also open one hour prior to curtain and during intermission of Quick Center performances. Closed for all University holidays. The Quick Center is located on the campus of Fairfield University, 1073 North Benson Road, in Fairfield, CT. Visit: http://www.fairfield.edu/arts/qc_walsh.html