Winston Wächter Fine Art, New York is pleased to announce Real Spaces, an exhibition of new acrylic paintings by Peter Waite. From large format works on panel to small studies on polypropylene, Waite depicts interior views of schools, museums, and workplaces that are void of people yet filled with the vestiges of their presence. These empty settings explore the ways in which built environments inform personal memory and meaning.
Peter Waite depicts specific places that are familiar to him. He works from snapshots, sketches, and memory that guide his work into a single photographic perspective. From a distance, his works appear photorealistic, though on closer inspection they are quite gestural and free. As the paintings float on the wall in a grid, a subtle fluorescence glows behind them, creating a humming sensation of invisible energy. The images themselves hover in the center of the composition, becoming blurred and drippy at the edges, a floating memory seeming to form out of space.
The artist began this series in 2018, focusing on school interiors. At the time, issues of education quality, inequality, security, and the ever-looming threat of violence were at the forefront of national debate. An image of an empty classroom with its dutifully arranged desks and chairs evokes a powerful range of memories from one’s own experiences. Today, in the midst of pandemic-era closures, these empty classrooms, museums, and workplaces hold new meaning and connotations.
Waite explores ideas of shared personal and social memory through the spaces he depicts. Public and private places such as a dentist’s office, a classroom, or a garage are presented devoid of figures, allowing onlookers to visually enter the piece and apply individual meaning. Waite’s paintings invite viewers to consider and reflect on the act of looking, and its effects on memory and certainty.
Peter Waite was born in North Adams, MA and currently works and resides in Connecticut. He studied at the Hartford Art School in West Hartford, CT where he received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts. He earned a Masters in Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Waite has received many awards including the National Endowment for the Arts, a Gottlieb Foundation award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Pollock-Krasner Fellowship.