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Cleon Peterson Continues Explorations of War and Chaos Via Purity in Exhibition at Over the Influence Gallery

  • cleon peterson exhibition
  • cleon peterson exhibition
January 17, 2016
Behind the pseudonym of Lor Dethal lies Nemanja Torlak, a writer for Widewalls intrigued and moved by diversity in art and in the lives of those who create it. It is often the unexpected that come forth and surprise us, and art is a world that allows it and makes it possible. David beats the Goliath daily, and writing about it is a pleasure.

Featuring a collection of twenty acrylic-on-canvas pieces, Cleon Peterson exhibits for the second time in Hong Kong, this time under the name of Purity. Presenting the exhibition and promoting the artist is the Over The Influence group, an artist management team focusing on radical, vibrant and influential contemporary international artists. Representing worldwide renowned and emerging talents, Over The Influence collaborates with many private and public institutions in order to publicize the work of the emerging generation of artists. Striving to present on a global level, they announce their first Hong Kong exhibition that will see opening on January 21st, 2016. Purity, made by the Los Angeles-based artist Cleon Peterson, portrays a chaotic and chilling reality – police brutality, stabbings, and strangulation.

cleon peterson exhibition
Cleon Peterson – Across the Black Night, 2015

A World of Violence

The work of Cleon Peterson is largely based on graphic design and his style very much reminds of the ancient Greco-Roman vases. Deviances being the norm, displaced individuals are forced to navigate the wicked reality alone, finding hollow pleasures in violence, sex, religion and drugs. In a war torn world that his images portray, life is short and brutish, and the spotlight is reserved for senseless brutality without context. There is nothing within the canvas surface that might imply a reason for the omnipresent cruelty; in the words of Peterson himself, it is “a gray world where law breakers and law enforcers are one in the same; a world where ethics have been abandoned in favor of personal entitlement.”

cleon peterson exhibition
Left: Cleon Peterson – Backstabbers, 2015 / Right: Cleon Peterson – Creating Paradise, 2015

Making the World Pure

Through the inflicted pain and suffering of war and chaos shall the word become pure. It is the heart of Peterson’s collection, and the idea behind Purity. Exploring our new reality in which the ideology of revenge and war reigns supreme, violence and cruelty envelop the canvas, and are there just for the sake of it. The value of human life is completely diminished, and scenes of stabbing and decapitation by war-fixated individuals put the viewer in a state of anxiety. Cultures and religions clash, ridding the world of compassion and understanding and ultimately one another, thus purifying it. The collection consists of twenty acrylic-on-canvas pieces that are individually limited to no more than a few colors, displaying the artist’s ability to illustrate and evoke such powerful emotions with as few paint variations.

cleon peterson exhibition
Left: Cleon Peterson – Dirty Hands, 2015 / Right: Cleon Peterson – Man of War, 2015

Cleon Peterson Exhibition at The Space Gallery

Being recognized by chaotic and violent paintings, his latest collection is no exception. Cleon Peterson embodies brutality without a sense of justness within the twenty pieces that make up the Purity exhibition. Gripping the viewer without relying on symbolism or allusion, the eerie reality represented in the paintings evoke a certain suspense not to be abandoned easily. The solo exhibition starts on January 21st, and will be on display at The Space Gallery in Hong Kong until January 31st, 2016.

Featured images: Cleon Peterson – A River of Blood, 2015; Cleon Peterson – Destroying the Future, 2015. Images courtesy of The Space Gallery. All images used for demonstrative purposes only.