new-york

Peter Saari

O.K. Harris Gallery

How can we resist the temptation to reach into the past, into that overflowing well of artifacts and ideas, when it offers itself for plunder like an over-anxious lover? Few artists, today, seem willing or able to refrain; they fill their works with as many historical references as they can carry. They appear to be concerned with the countless allusions which materialize when diverse visual attitudes are melded together. Going against the grain of this current fascination for images which embrace the doctrines of cross-cultural, a-temporal eclecticism, Peter Saari has reached into the unchaste past and pulled from it an exacting vision of the remains of a single civilization. His near-literal recreations of fresco fragments refer only to the fallen grandeur of a decayed and time-gnawed Rome.

To focus on ancient Rome at the expense of all other cultures is by no means a choice which necessarily

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