Peter Maslow Paintings

Statement 2013

These paintings are about urban environments and how we experience them. I've traveled fairly extensively across Central and Eastern Europe, photographing, sketching, absorbing and processing. I could look at a building's facade there and determine the time, history, political climate, artistic trends, the battle between the vernacular versus cosmopolitan in architectural styles - and I would incorporate these as elements and arguments in my paintings. The paintings would be like a kinetic montage of glimpses of a hundred years of wandering through these places experienced and remembered.

But as time passed and I painted more, I learned that although I was painting about romantically far away kingdoms, I was using the maps of my childhood. I may have been looking up at some fancy cornice in a foreign city, but I was treading the streets and back alleyways, and clambering over the rooftops of Midwood. Or even more significant, the wider neighborhoods of my coming of age years: the streets of Manhattan and the Bronx, too. The dark edginess of late 80s and early 90s NYC. Streets matter more to you when you've faced loss on them.

For the last six years I've had my studio in Industry City - down below the Gowanus Expressway, and near the water on 2nd Ave. Twenty years ago I remember the dark life under the Gowanus, the drugs and hookers and night life. But you come out of the Battery Tunnel and you're safe, back in Brooklyn where everything is familiar. Later memories of foreign travels overlay my home town like fantasies. This is a continuous tension in my mind and a central interest in my painting. Memory, cognizance, perception all interweave as overviews. But the painting only works if it a blow to the gut and a disorientation of the mind.