Through Cleon Peterson’s paintings, we encounter a world riddled with anxiety, corruption and savage ferocity, where deviance and violence equal the usual state of affairs. Peterson describes his bedlam as “a gray world where law breakers and law enforcers are one in the same; a world where ethics have been abandoned in favor of personal entitlement.”
Peterson depicts life as war between displaced individuals in a dystopian world. Acts of brutality, abuse and perversion serve as rituals of power, revealing narcissistic indulgences in violence, sex, religion and drugs. In exploring the tension between the individual consciousness and unconscious psyche, Peterson’s paintings bring to light the resulting possibilities when varying moral schemes are personified. When faced with the dilemma of fight or flight, it’s fight. We observe an ongoing struggle in the thick of a contemporary world, where the instinctual desire to survive through primitive actions takes reign.
See the above works and more currently on view in San Francisco at Guerrero Gallery. On view until April 7th, 2012