10 May - 9 June 2019

Marvin Gardens is pleased to announce the U.S. solo debut of Irish painter Peter Cleary. On view in our second gallery space are six new oil paintings on panel depicting human-like figures in various interactions within shadowy landscapes.

Cleary’s process is to work on several paintings simultaneously, building each of them up texturally with the imagery. The viewer can notice shifts in decisions on the final layers when the imagery departs from the texture underneath it as previous imagery is covered and painted forms are redistributed while physical forms remain. Working on panels, whether linen or wood, offers a rigidity of surface that Cleary can dig into with greater force.

Counter to our contemporary urban experience, where figures are often set against a background of pale concrete and glass, setting them as dark shapes against bright spaces of diffuse light, in these paintings the figures are the brightest part of the composition, offset by backgrounds that appear to be natural landscapes or forest settings.

Cleary builds up the characters without a preconceived plan, working within his system of improvisation with the goal of creating interiority for the characters, their eyes being of central importance. The way in which they are painted puts a final punctuation on the method of creating an image that is tempered back from illusion by the force of materiality.