• New Paintings by Daniel Peddle

    Date posted: May 17, 2011 Author: jolanta



    “Finding the intersection between 70’s psychedelia and magic realism, Peddles hauntingly beautiful works literally shimmer.”

    Daniel Peddle

    “Finding the intersection between 70’s psychedelia and magic realism, Peddles hauntingly beautiful works literally shimmer.”


    Jason Stopa


    Reflecting on a memory, John Ashberry began City Afternoon stating “A veil of haze protects this, long ago afternoon, forgotten by everybody, in this photograph…” Encountering the new works by Daniel Peddle, one senses a similar beautiful disorientation lying somewhere between memory, experience and reality. Each work is utterly strange and yet familiar. Peddles’ small paintings line the walls of NP Contemporary Art Center curated by Nicola Vassell. The show entitled “Undertow” is a fitting moniker for the landscape-based works on display. Using an interesting mixture of acrylic, tempera, gouache, watercolor, and charcoal on wood panels; Peddles’ process consist of thin glazes and varnishes creating an effervescent surface quality. Tiny figures disappear into dense thickets of trees, others wade under moonlight in vast rivers, and others still work on trucks below crimson skies and low tide. Finding the intersection between 70s psychedelia and magic realism, Peddles hauntingly beautiful works literally shimmer.

    Peddle states that four years ago, he was working on his second documentary film entitled “Trail Angels.” While working on the piece he encountered what hikers call ‘the green tunnel’, a disorienting and hallucinatory effect where the traveler feels a sensation of being consumed by the surrounding woods. For centuries the woods have been used in allegorical narratives as symbols of innocence, mystery, and self-discovery. In Peddles’ work entitled Cindy into the Woods, a small figure traverses a pink trail into a dark, seemingly impenetrable brush. The path ends abruptly. A blond figure tarries on the precipice as harrowing white trees fold and loom overhead. The centrality of the work and the use of shallow perspective dwarf the figure and draws the viewer close. Peddles’ use of layered transparent washes, incised marking, and dainty flecks of paint, mimic the construction of a literal forest; it being an environment made of varied tactile surface textures. The scale of this work allows us to read it as wholly imaginary and poetic. Other works reiterate this central theme in varying degrees from quixotic, dreamlike seascapes to bros enjoying beach culture.

    “Undertow” finds itself at the nexus of a new romanticism in painting and a resurgence of the ‘back to the land’ movement. The works share an affinity with the late paintings of Ralph Albert Blakelock and the solitary poetics of Whitman and Thoreau, yet with an ample share of contemporary cultural cues. Peddles’ ethereal qualities and indeterminate spaces posit figures in a state of appearing and disappearing. As the virtual world continues to separate us from natural, authentic experience and seeks to quantify all understanding; Peddles works’ maintain that the world is still a place of wonder and intangible mystery.

    “Undertow” is on view at NP Contemporary Art Center. 131 Chrystie Street. Lower East Side. May 5 – May 31, 2011. www.npcac.org/#

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