About the Artist
Lush and realistic, Peter Rostovsky's canvases operate between the realms of pure
painterly experience and a mediated, ironic distance. Painted from digital and composite
photographs, his compositions depict images of the sublime to the banal, questioning at
which point one might become the other.
In many of his works Rostovsky details a breadth of nature the naked eye could not
possibly take in. Transport Series; Star Trek I (2000) features a star-studded
galaxy exploding with colorful hot spots and points of light. The painting is an awe-
inspiring portrayal of the universe, yet, simultaneously its title gestures toward a
quotidian element of life that seems to lie at the other end of the spectrum.
At times Rostovsky works in the opposite direction: he elevates the ordinary. In
Carrie (2002) blood drips down the face of the wide-eyed woman from the cult
classic. By placing this pop culture image in the rarefied context of visual art,
Rostovsky suggests such familiar markers of our times might soon become the markers
Born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1970, Peter Rostovsky moved to the United States in
1980. He received a BA and BFA from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY in 1995. He
participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, New York, NY the
following year. He has had solo exhibitions at The Project, New York, NY (2004);
Galleria Maze, Turin, Italy (2002); and James Harris Gallery, Seattle, WA (2001). He
was included in the 2003 Prague Biennale, Czech Republic; and in exhibitions at
SMAK, Ghent, Belgium (2001) and White Columns, New York, NY (1999).
About the Exhibition
Rostovsky's paintings modernize and complicate traditional notions of artistic
representations of the sublime.
In Epiphany Model 4: The Meteor Shower (2004) an oval canvas depicts the
night sky of a mountainous valley lit by streaking meteors. Observing the scene are two
figures dwarfed by the grandeur. Yet Rostovsky, in an ironic update of the German
Romantic tradition, literally removes the viewers from the scene. He sculpts a pair of
hikers on a rocky perch which rests on a pedestal two feet from the painting.
Rostovsky's figures confront nature and quite literally culture, as they, like us, are
contemplating a painting.
In Eclipse (2004), the largest work in the exhibition, wispy flames peek out
from behind a darkened moon, presenting a monumental ode to the natural phenomenon
we, in fact, would never be able to view with such clarity.
Four canvases feature isolated swimmers in rippling expanses of blue water?
part of a recent series inspired by a trip to Nice, France. In Large Swimmers
(2004) five figures paddle together, yet rather than engage with one another as one
might expect, their gaze is serious and detached?e that of the figures in
Epiphany Model. Staring out at the infinite ocean, they commune with nature
just as nature seems to consume them.
With Rubik's Cube (2004) Rostovsky approaches the popular game with the
same reverence he applies to the mountains, the stars, and the ocean. The cube's
familiar squares of color loom large against a hushed, hazy-white background. Such
treatment moves the iconic puzzle from the realm of the banal to that of the sublime and
challenges the assumed distinction between the two.
April 29 ?ly 18, 2004
Thursday, April 29, 6:30-8:30 PM
Gallery walk-thru with the artist at 7:00 PM
Brown Bag Lunch
Wednesday, June 9, 12:00-1:00 PM
Join Education and Curatorial Associate Kate Green for a tour of Peter
Rostovsky and a brown bag lunch provided by Sip ($6.50). Please call ArtPace for
menu and reservations.
All events are free and held at Artpace, 445 N. Main Avenue. Free parking at N. Flores
and Savings streets. Artpace is open to the public Wednesday thru Sunday, 12-5 PM,
Thursday 12-8 PM, and by appointment. There is no charge for admission.
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