Peter Grass

Barbara Braathen Gallery

Peter Grass first exhibited his schematic drawings of space figures set upon black-painted canvas in the early ‘80s. THe work looked indistinguishable from much of the rather nondescript, cartoonlike caricature being produced at the time. Now, with more of the East Village art returned to the rubble from which it sprang, Grass’ persistent development of an idiosyncratic vocabulary and mode of expression has rescued his paintings from the junk heap.

Today, Grass' futuristic pictograms of figures and planets seem like anachronistic prophesies from a once-thriving civilization. His repainted tree fungi evokes this archaeological effect best. In Anima Mudi, 1986, a planet crowned with towering antennae, and a flying spaceman trailed by a chain of interlocking infinity curves, are painted against a black field on the surface of a large tree mushroom. The scene testifies to a Babel-like civilization:

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