Cleon Peterson’s Unflinching Paintings Act Out Our Culture’s “Poison”
Former Shepard Fairey assistant Cleon Peterson's apocalyptic ode to ancient Greece and Rome is one of the most restrained and civilized works in Peterson’s oeuvre. The Marchers draws inspiration from Greco-Roman pottery scenes, with warriors lined up to do battle towards what is most likely a gory bloody end. —Courtesy of Julien’s Auctions
Signature: Signed in pencil lower right "Cleon
Image rights: Courtesy of Julien's Auctions
With an aesthetic rooted in graphic design and a style reminiscent of Greco-Roman vases, Cleon Peterson’s art depicts a world in which deviance is the norm and violence, sex, and drugs bring a hollow pleasure. A former drug addict who initially struggled to recover, Peterson does not rely on symbolism or allusion, as many other artists do; instead he depicts a chaotic and chilling reality—police brutality, stabbings, and strangulation. Influenced by Leon Golub, Paul McCarthy, and Mike Kelley, Peterson portrays a world in which hostility and violence are rendered senseless and without context.
American, b. 1973, Seattle, Washington, based in Los Angeles, California