new-york

Peter Saari

C.W. Post Center Art Gallery

Peter Saari’s oils on shaped and stretched canvas simulate Etruscan and Roman tomb paintings. Saari represents the visible canvas—both surface and edge—as masonry, rendering peeled layers of paint, rough wall surfaces and broken edges, even the chalky blush of ancient pigments on plaster. Like the Poiriers, Saari transposes antiquity, literally transmitting the experience of ancient walls with a curatorial reverence for the physical facts of the artifacts he represents. He groups canvases as if they were chunks of wall (some are even numbered on the edge) reconstructed in a museum. The show implies a glorious antiquity visible now only in ruins, much like the museum sequence in Federico Fellini’s film Satyricon. Saari’s paintings embody the dialectic of historical thinking—he both renders the break and makes the reconstruction. He even arrests moment by moment deterioration in one work in

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