New York

Peter Archer

Robert Miller Gallery

It’s interesting that Peter Archer’s paintings should seem so refreshing, since in fact they represent a return to an earlier realism. Realistic without super-, neo- or photo-attached to the description, they are simply studio interiors done in a rather careful and somber style. Studious in attention to composition and detail, they also have the stylistic flavor and palette of the ’30s and ’40s.

Archer’s affinity with the WPA style is partly due to his use of broad shadow and effects arranged through deliberate contrast of lights and darks. Producing more surface variation than depth, Archer often leaves the spaces depicted curiously untouched by a true light source. Though variations of color and highlight exist, many objects remain in a medium-range shadow, underplaying the dramatic content and effect of light/dark itself.

Not that Archer is unaware of such drama; at least one canvas

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