Peter Power is feeling a bit bruised lately. He keeps bumping into artists who are distractingly and mysteriously, planting their work firmly in the path of his own. These artists appear regularly; their concerns burrow into his thinking process; odd bits of their language come together in wood and paper in his studio. Anthony Caro, Joseph Beuys, Charles Ray and other persuasive artists have made moves, said things or produced work that Peter has folded into the installation that forms Later in the Afternoon. In order to understand why these particular forces hold sway in his studio, Power empties out all the constituent parts of a particular interruption, examines them thoroughly and filters them through a procedural sieve to gain a better understanding of the intricate mechanisms held within. In the printed work and sculpture in this exhibition, we see an artist identifying and taking apart fragments of subject, form and meaning that will ultimately help him clarify his own. From an artist who continues to be a mentor and creative agent for many younger artists, it’s inspiring to see him continue to build just the right chair to take to the dinner table of his champions.
Anthony Caro is there with his sculpture Early One Morning from 1962. A work that acts as a chronological trigger for Power’s own Later in the Afternoon. Charles Ray’s proposed but unrealized response to Caro’s work is visible as a large grandiose doodle. Gordon Matta Clark and Donald Judd appear with the their interventions, attentive material choices and the perfect tools to mark their gestures with the precision of a surgeon. In a far corner, but always moving into view, are the Germans: Dieter Roth, Sigmar Polke, Wolf Vostell, Gerhard Richter, a very young Martin Kippenberger and all the others, laughing and drinking as if they know something elemental but that Power continues to decode. The processing of influence is basic artists’ work; the only difference is that what we see in Later in the Afternoon is still moving and being influenced and activated by newer forces. Never static, the work here is dynamic and alive.
(b. 1962 Galway, Ireland) Peter Power received a BFA from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin (1987) and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1993). He was also the recipient of a D.A.A.D scholarship and studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, Germany. His sculptural and print based work has been described as “an awkward mix of exacting process, idiosyncratic mess and spiritual or aesthetic ambiguity and doubt”. He has exhibited in his native Ireland, continental Europe, China and throughout the United States. Power lives and works in Chicago where he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Printmedia at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.