Young Children Accompanied by Wildlife Take a Stance Among Urban Decay in Paintings by Kevin Peterson
By: Laura Staugaitis
Kevin Peterson (previously) continues to paint detailed tableaux of young children and animals juxtaposed against dystopian urban environments. Solo kids, accompanied only by wild allies of polar bears, lions, and raccoons, are at the center of each painting surrounded by abandoned, decaying buildings. Whereas his earlier paintings showed the children striding forward and exploring, more recently his young subjects have been paused, seeming to be in moments of reflection or defiance.
Peterson studied fine art alongside psychology in college and his varied career included a graduate degree in social work and a job as a corrections officer before he returned to his art practice in 2005. The artist’s interest in psychology and societal dynamics helps inform the intention behind his works, which Peterson describes as dealing “with isolation, loneliness and longing teamed with a level of optimistic hope. Issues of race and the division of wealth have arisen in my recent work. This work deals with the idea of rigid boundaries, the hopeful breakdown of such restrictions, as well as questions about the forces that orchestrate our behavior.”