A new exhibition by Cleon Peterson titled “The Brinksman” presents a series of paintings that imagine a dystopian world where violence and self-interest predominate and the bonds of community have been broken.
Peterson’s paintings bear a strong resemblance to the black-figure pottery done by a pre-literate Greek society to record their history and myths. The Greeks immortalized what they found most honorable—scenes of battle, hunting, and intimate erotic interactions.
But Peterson makes the unconscious primitive desires of contemporary humanity his subject matter which gives the apercus that civilized society is only a short step away from chaos. His view of humankind seems to be distinctively Hobbesian as he highlights the potential for abuses of power and human overindulgence in sex, religion and narcissism by depicting savage acts of violence.
“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,” is how Peterson describes his series of paintings.
Peterson’s work can be viewed at the Guerrero Gallery until April 7 Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 7pm and Sunday from 12pm to 5pm.