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Beijing Booster Paintings is an ambitious exhibition of by internationally collected and celebrated artist, Peter Wayne Lewis. For over a decade, Jamaica-born Lewis has maintained and operated out of a studio in Beijing, China's sprawling capital city with renowned 798 arts district. His large-scale abstractions are informed by antecedents of American Abstract Expressionist painters such as Mark Rothko and Helen Frankenthaler, as well as Japanese sumi ink paintings and Chinese calligraphy by master painters like Ba Da Shan Ren. Tapping into both American and Asian traditions of painting, Lewis' work provides a compelling case for cross-cultural aesthetics in an increasingly globalizing age.
The overall valance of harmony laid bare on Lewis' canvases are often punctuated by interruptions of dissonance that take versatile forms. But make no mistake - Lewis' works are intended to be as non-representational as they are expressions of his desire to manifest the omnipresent energies that dictate String Theory. For Lewis, paint is the vehicle with which to crystalize his considerations of physics, music particularly jazz, and the spiritual. Within the restrictions of his canvas, Lewis creates a space where harmonious arrangements are forced to coexist with chaos. The comforts of pattern and balance are constantly put in peril on a visual plane where entropy reigns supreme. Which force of nature wins out in the end may only be determined by the viewer.
Inspired by the world of jazz and musical greats such as Thelonious Monk, Lewis' painterly creations speak to the improvisational nature of jazz music. There exists an axiomatic tension that underscores Lewis' work, one that is also inherent in the production and experience of jazz. In Lewis' Buddha Plays Monk Suite, the tension between harmony and dissonance, a singular self-contained moment of expression, and an infinity of new experiences, dynamism, and passivity, all teeter an ever-narrowing line that begets novel planes of awareness and understanding. The convolutional layers of paint beckon for viewers to discover and reawaken internal rhythms within, while navigating its capricious twists and turns, flowing cascades and sudden endings.
Lewis' body of work has been uniquely crafted due in large part to his oscillation and absorption of values and aesthetics between the East and the West. An artist with Jamaican roots, Lewis studied painting in the United States before taking on Eastern artistic interests in China. Lewis aims to collapse not only the modulations of time between the past and present traditions in his art, but also the varied artistic and intellectual histories that resonate with his identity as a Black American working to synthesize with the East.
Peter Wayne Lewis was born in Kingston, Jamaica West Indies and immigrated to the United States in 1962 where his parents made their home in Sacramento, California. He received his Master of Arts in painting in 1979 from San Jose State University in California and became an American citizen in 1983. He is a Tenured Professor of Painting at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, Massachusetts and the former Chairman of Fine Art 2D Department. He has exhibited extensively in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, USA, Asia. His recent exhibitions include a survey of paintings produced in his studio in Beijing, China at MOCA-Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami curated by Babacar MBow, UCCA-Ullens Center of Contemporary Art Beijing, China 798 Art District Curated by Philip Tinari. China Art Museum Shanghai, China. He is in numerous public and private collections at home and abroad. He currently resides in South Orange, New Jersey, Boston, Massachusetts and Beijing, China.
Gallery Affiliations: JAYJAY-Contemporary Fine Art Sacramento, California; WMING ART New York-Beijing-Shanghai, SKOTO GALLERY NEW YORK, LOOC ART. Lewiscurrently serves on the board at White Box Gallery, New York.
-Michelle Dao, Curatorial Assistant
Carole Bieber & Marc Ham Gallery
The Delaware Contemporary
New Castle County
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