Peter LaBier’s first solo exhibition at Agent Gallery is comprised of paintings made from the observation of objects. LaBier uses a variety of source materials, essentially readymades, for the subject matter of his paintings. The artist chose the objects for their unique characteristics: the startling contrast between a pair of well-worn, black leather shoes and the sinister gaze of a gremlin doll.
The show’s title, Collected of You, evokes sequences of private circumstances surrounding each object and incites viewers to reflect on their potential to tell stories. In their quotidian realism and unadorned presentation, these objects suggest shared experience among viewers and artist. Together they comprise a body of personal flotsam and jetsam: the disjointed detritus of our material culture.
The negative space between images and the gaps between subjects are charged with potency. Viewers are asked to invent narratives and alliances to reconcile the apparent disparities and forge connections between an 8-track and an anatomical body. In this body of work LaBier suggests a non-hierarchical gathering of items, a catalogue lacking beginning or end.
With playful gestures toward the traditional still life motifs of memento mori, LaBier’s approach is ultimately much looser than the Dutch masters. Documenting his observations in paint, LaBier allows the distinction between what he sees and what he imagines to blur. His method is both direct and casual. Free associative shapes occupy the same environment in the diptych of a tiger and pith helmet, throwing the defined outlines of each object into relief. Rather than functioning as still life paintings, these pictures place you somewhere inside the artists’ head—observing observations.
The act of looking at these paintings takes on intimate circularity. The viewers’ direct their attention back to the items originally observed by the artist, thus reaffirming the source material and at the same time giving new perspective to the objects by participating in the process of looking. In Collected of You, LaBier invents a fertile taxonomy of objects—and invites viewers to animate it with their own visions.
- Born in Washington DC
- Currently in Brooklyn, New York