200711 Dominique Simmons and Sammy Peters: Geography Lessons

200711 Dominique Simmons and Sammy Peters: Geography Lessons

November 28, 2007

Trinity Gallery for Arkansas Artists
November 15, 2007 through January 27, 2008
Opening reception on December 14, 5 - 8 pm, in conjunction with 2nd Friday Art Night

Prepare to be amazed by our current exhibit in the Trinity Gallery. Two of Arkansas’s most respected artists, Dominique Simmons and Sammy Peters, come together in Geography Lessons which features their separate, yet equally contemplative, works.

Dominique Simmons’s work is about movement and change as reflected in a vigorous linear style that depicts invented landscapes, altered maps and recombined human, manmade and natural forms. Simmons says the images reveal her interest in our changing geo-political realities as well as the complicated relationship between human beings and the natural world. “As an artist,” she says, “I hope to be here to record the paradigm shift, to record the next step in human evolution.”

She adds, “My work quite literally deals with the relationship between human beings and their physical world as seen in the maps that I use in my work. I also use imagery that reflects current events such as the immigration issue and war, the clash of cultures and religion and really just an intense interest in history and anthropology.

“On a smaller or more inner-scale, my art is about the geography of the soul. It all boils down to the more existential questions of ‘Why we are here?’ and ‘What is our relationship with the earth and nature?’ Finally, ‘What is the relationship between ourselves as we share this earth?’”

Sammy Peters’ paintings are a juxtaposition of color, texture and space. The interplay and dichotomy present the viewer with visual vibrant rhythms. Art critic Peter Frank says, “Peters' work has an organicism to it, a ‘messy order’ that mirrors nature’s eternal experimentation.”

Peters has this to say about his work: “Author Paul Auster once described one of Samuel Beckett’s works as being under the influence of a ‘silent metronome’ buried deep within the words. This rhythm establishes itself with the reader unconsciously, not only guiding the pace of the prose, but also giving the reader the impression that time is passing, like footsteps that keep moving forward even when nothing is overtly happening. When I read his description, I understood what he was getting at because time and rhythm are also important to my creative process. My paintings have an intrinsic tempo within them that may not be obvious at first glance. I begin to sense the rhythm of the painting early in the work, and often that sense of rhythm asserts itself in devices like ladder shapes or stripes or polka dots or marks that I make. The rhythm of the painting perpetuates itself and reasserts itself as I paint, and I just go along for the ride.

“One thing about my paintings is that I spend a lot of time on each one. Each one seems to have an invisible timeline built into it, and I cannot alter that pace. I may stop and start many times, but the timeline is almost genetically coded into each painting.”

Peters adds that he is looking forward to exhibiting at Historic Arkansas Museum: “I have a special place for Historic Arkansas Museum. About 30 years ago, I took a hiatus from painting to raise my family. Family has always been my top priority. After about four or five years, I started painting again but not ‘exhibiting;’ that is, my work was not for sale in any galleries. Within a few years, I had built up a corpus of work, but hadn’t sought out a venue for them yet. Historic Arkansas Museum called me just about that time. They had heard from Arkansas Gazette art critic Dan Morris that I was a ‘fierce young painter’ and wondered if I might be willing to exhibit my work at their gallery for contemporary artists. That phone call relaunched my art career.”

The opening reception for Dominique Simmons and Sammy Peters:
Geography Lessons will be December 14, 5-8 pm, in conjunction with 2nd Friday Art Night. Free and open to the public. Also happening on Art Night is the museum's Third Ever Nog-off and a book signing with Crescent Dragonwagon, author of The Cornbread Gospels.

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Dominique Simmons and Sammy Peters: Geography Lessons