Cheim & Read is pleased to present Following Sea, an exhibition of new paintings by Peter Shear, whose work was recently featured in Regarding Kimber, the gallery’s homage to the painter Kimber Smith. The show will open on March 23, 2023, at the gallery’s Chelsea location, 547 West 25th Street, New York, and run through May 13.
A self-taught painter, Shear was born in 1980 in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts, and grew up in Valparaiso, Indiana. The deeply hued canvases in this exhibition were made on a human scale, most of them mounted on panels measuring 11 x 14 inches. Their overriding characteristic is a distinct absence of dogma: elusive and spare, they hover in an interstitial space between abstraction and representation, often incorporating elements of both. They can suggest figures, landscapes, or architecture, or simply exist as spontaneous configurations of lines and colors.
In an interview with the art blog Studio Critical, the artist talks about how his paintings begin:
For the genesis of images I’ve often restricted myself to the very familiar—lines, dots, simple shapes. As general and inclusive a vocabulary as possible. It’s become increasingly important to leave behind an image to which no concrete meaning can be attached, only possibility.
Writing in Hyperallergic about Shear’s first New York solo show, John Yau states, “Shear is not precious about his work. He does not have a fixed palette, nor does he seem to be trying to develop a signature style or set of motifs.” Noting that the exhibition’s title, Magnolias All at Once, is taken from a book by Norman Fisher, a poet and Buddhist monk, Yau adds:
Fisher’s poetics have likely influenced Shear. Here is something he stated about his poetry: “There’s no self or person, just what arises […] writing is words, how they sound, how they look lying on the page.”
[…] There is something wonderfully open about Shear’s process. He never claims to say more than he’s able, recalling Fisher’s description of words or, in the artist’s case, brushstrokes lying on the surface.
Peter Shear has shown his work across the United States and internationally. He has had solo exhibitions at Castle, Los Angeles, CA (2022); Fortnight Institute, New York, NY (2021, 2017); KOKI Arts, Tokyo, Japan (2021); Herron School of Art + Design, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN (2019); Devening Projects + Editions, Chicago, IL (2017); and A\M Projects, Indianapolis, IN (2017); ATM, Austin, TX (2016).
Group shows include Real Life, Ilse D’Hollander in dialogue, Galerie Sofie Van de Velde, Antwerp, Belgium (2023); Regarding Kimber, Cheim & Read, New York, NY (2022); Small Paintings, Venus Over Manhattan, New York, NY (2022); A Wild Note of Longing: Albert Pinkham Ryder and a Century of American Art, New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA (2021); Downtown, La MaMa Galleria, New York, NY (2021); Adrian, George, Peter, Sofia e Tamina, P420 Galleria, Bologna, Italy (2019); Locus Focus: Peter Shear and Arvind Sundararajan, 840 Gallery, University of Cincinnati, OH (2018); Basic Instinct, Peter Shear and Ellen Siebers, FJORD, Philadelphia, PA (2016); Good Bad Brush: Peter Shear and Matthew Wong, The Occasional Gallery, Burlington, WA (2016).
He currently lives and works in Bloomington, Indiana.