Peter Sacks: Paintings

Oct. 29 - Dec. 12, 2009

Opening Reception: Thursday, October 29, 6-8 p.m.

Paul Rodgers / 9W Gallery is pleased to announce “Paintings,” an exhibition by American painter Peter Sacks. The exhibition consists of painting and collage in mixed media and in a variety of formats which extend to the monumental. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog, commissioned by the gallery, with full color illustrations, featuring a substantial essay by celebrated author and New Yorker critic, Louis Menand. 

“Paintings,” is the first opportunity for the New York art scene to experience Peter Sacks’s exciting and expansive art that incorporates found objects, lace, cardboard, cloth and manually type-written text, along with the whole range of painting technique. Sacks’s paintings serve as a visual record of is life experiences and travels and are both familiar and strikingly unique. The rich, highly saturated canvases and works on panel appear battered yet luminous, distressed but filled with resilient vitality. Sacks’s works are immensely detailed and each layer exposes another dimension of complexity. Their labor intensive, archaeological density and their transformative blend of materials give them the feeling of ritual sites or objects. Viewing a Sacks painting is an event that becomes increasingly significant with time - each layer introduces a new emotion, motif or experience, and embodies an important moment in the life of the artist and our own history. 

As Louis Menand remarks in his essay: “The luminosity of Sacks’s paintings is not the luminescence of decay. They are efforts, in the face of loss, breakdown, and impending ruin, to record and to recuperate. And making a record from lost and damaged things is what Sacks’s art represents. There is no transcendence in Sacks’s work, but there is no pure loss, either. Everything decays, but everything can be recovered, though in a different form. The materials are familiar. The object is something we have never seen before.”

Peter Sacks, an expatriate, was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and raised in Durban. Sacks has taught at Johns Hopkins and Harvard, and is a published author and poet. Sacks’s paintings contain a rich visual palette combining a complex appreciation of historical texts and vivid experiences of his South African background with its fraught political climate. The paintings of Peter Sacks open out onto issues of global culture, its promise and jeopardy.