Artist confronts sleep issues through paintings

Imitating Life

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Kevin Peterson

Cory Bilicko/Signal Tribune

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“Nocturne,” oil on wood

Describe the inspiration behind Nocturne.
Here’s the description in a nutshell [from] my press release for the show: “In the new show Nocturne, artist Kevin Peterson delves into his own dreams, and examines the role of sleep in regard to the human psyche. Keeping in line with nighttime themes, the series is characterized by a cool-toned grisaille palette that conveys ambient, moon-drenched lighting. His celestial skies give way to desolate landscapes, and from the shadows emerge nightmarish creatures. Acting as a guide through each composition, the fluid forms of these figures traverse billowing clouds and pristinely painted gradients, into textural areas of corrosion and decomposition. The subjects depicted in the work materialize through an unplanned, subconscious outflow– forming emotive, yet open-ended imagery that’s reflective of the innately interpretive nature of dreams themselves.”

Do you think confronting your slumber issues through art has helped you sleep better at all?
I am naturally drawn to the night and find myself personally inspired from twilight to dawn. Art is a therapy to work out thoughts and moments of my life. As I tackle those thoughts, I produce concepts in my works. By working through the paintings, I come to better understandings on those thoughts. Being a painter can have strain on relationships with people due to the involvement and investment I put into my paintings and my timeframe I work on them. Due to my insomnia, I have quiet moments at night not bothered by texts or other distractions, allowing me to fully concentrate on what I am working on.

How much time do you usually spend on one painting?
I work on multiple paintings at once. My largest painting I have been working on since January. I will find myself constantly inspired with thought by certain aspects of each painting and follow that inspiration, so I move from painting to painting constantly. As I work in oils, I also must allow portions to dry before going back and working.

Have you determined what your next series of paintings or projects will be?
I’m going to continue with this current series. I feel like I can explore more of the subject.

To view more of Peterson’s work, visit kevinpeterson.com .

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