Since 1980 I have created oil paintings as a way to examine contemporary social and political issues. Starting in 1996, my work began addressing the inherent contradiction between the mythic, Utopian image of the great American landscape (as exemplified by the Hudson River School, John James Audubon and Ansel Adams) and the actual social political reality of racism and genocide in our country.
In 2005 I began researching indigenous North American languages and cultures in order to understand the origin of the place-names (lakes, rivers, cities, states) around us — words that have become an underlying part of our geography, but whose original meanings and sources are all but lost.
The horrors directed toward the Native Americans, the enslavement of Africans, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War ll and the hatred of people infected with HIV (just to name of few injustices) have been effectively pushed away from the day-to-day consciousness of our past as a nation.
Because of this, I feel compelled to address the collective amnesia of American sociey by using the “landscape” as my means of expression, purposefully taking this apparently romantic and apolitical genre and injecting it with politics and historical accuracy.
Peter Edlund’s paintings draw from a wide range of sources inspired by art history and literature in order to reinterpret landscapes with a political overlay. Often his work comments on racism and invisibility, social traits woven deeply into the fabric of American society.
In 2005 he began researching indiginous North American languages and cultures in order to understand the origin of the place-names (lakes, rivers, cities, states) around us — words that have become an underlying part of our geography, but whose original meanings and sources are lost. From these studies he has created “translation” paintings of place-names in New England, Kansas, California and most recently New York State.
Commissions include a 11’ x 16’ mural for the MacDowell Colony in 2007, and four large-scale paintings for the University of California, Davis in 2011. Articles have appeared about his painting in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Flash Art, Artweek and Time Out New York. His work has been featured on the covers of ARTnews and Art & Antiques. He was awarded a Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2006 and an Adolphand Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant in 2008. He is a five-time MacDowell Colony fellow, and in May 2012 he attended a residency at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming.He has been a professor of oil painting at the School of Visual Art, New York, NY since 2006.
For more info on Peter visit: http://peteredlundart.com