Peter Eastman, Black Portrait VI
2006, oil, enamel, resin on aluminum, 210 x 130 cm
Peter Eastman, a south African based artist born in 1976, is mostly known for his monochrome, reflecting works. Through his paintings, Eastman experiments with a variety of techniques and media. In a way he is constantly looking for new ways to expand his art practice. He mainly works with aluminum as his primer or bottom layer, on which he applies for example layers of chrome, enamel, resin, wax, graphite and oil paint. He reworks, scrapes, makes incisions and profiles the surface to create unique paintings that can be positioned between representation and abstraction.
In 2005, Peter Eastman made a series of big monochrome portraits of the Birmingham Six, England's most known group of wrong convicted persons. 'Black Portrait VI', the one that you can see on the image, is part of his series and is a beautiful example of Eastmans characteristic art practice. You can distinguish superficial reliefs and reflecting surfaces, which he uses to question the normally very passive relationship of the viewer with painting. His images are only visible for the viewer if light is reflected on the surface, they appear, morph and dissolve when the viewer passes by.
In this sense it's no wonder that for Peter Eastman the viewer's relation to his works and to painting in general is very important. Sometimes this relation is taken very literally, when the viewer is interrupted by his own reflections when looking at the artworks. As if the viewer and subject are almost melted together.
With the 'Black Portrait' series Eastman opens the potentials of the visual paradox of a black painting only visible through the reflections of white light.
For more information about the artist, please visit: www.petereastman.com
Text: Lisa van Gerven