Curators Speak: Peter Bynum

Curator & Art Historian Dede Young, curator Carl Van Burnt, and Gallery owner Fu Xin speak about the complexities of Bynum’s work, while further introducing us to the artist’s process.



Experimenting with intensified and distorted sensory perception, BynumSimmons, and Laube transform traditional art forms into psychedelic encounters.

Peter Bynum invites viewers to experience a higher form of consciousness, to engage in meditation on the oneness of all living things, and abandon artistic ego to the innate intelligence of paint. Exploiting the inherent branching composition and dendritic forms of pressurized paint, the artist reveals the medium’s affinity to infrastructures present in nature. Corporeal capillaries and floral root systems are recalled with kaleidoscopic intensity in Bynum’s illuminated paintings. Abandoning the restriction of direct light, the artist utilizes the pure white light of flat-panel LEDs to illuminate acrylic through panes of tempered glass. Darkroom exhibition enhances the psychotropic experience of Bynum’s light-infused works.

Opposition dominates the work of Troy Simmons. Inspired by the dissonant relationship between man and nature, the artist explores possibilities for a stable coexistence of opposites. Recalling the emergence of vegetal growth from sidewalk crevices, Simmons’ sculptures juxtapose somber concrete and aluminum against vibrant splashes of acrylic paint. Echoing the artist’s fascination with nature and modern Brutalist Architecture, medium identifies Simmons’ works as contemporary manifestations of the 1960s Arte Povera movement, transforming foundational building materials into vessels of aesthetic creation. Dichotomous concept and medium serve as a physical investigation of what Simmons refers to as ‘incompatible binary relationships’. Deliberate and overt, such opposition knocks viewers off balance, resulting in a psychedelic experience of Simmons’ work.

Transgressing boundaries of traditional painting, Michael Laube unshackles the medium from the confines of space and time. Suspension of acrylic paint within sheets of plexiglass produce fluctuating highlights, reflections, and refractions incapable of absolute localization. The result: disembodied, dematerialized surfaces transformed by light. Inextricably woven into the surrounding space, Laube’s sculptural paintings exist beyond conformity to the definition of pure objectivity, capturing a spatial color effect reminiscent of Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko. Appearing to mutate and diversify, the hallucinogenic quality of Laube’s work encourages viewers to change perspective and experience the work from varying angles.

Manitoga: Peter Bynum’s Ecstatic Light

May 13 to November 14, 2016, Garrison, N.Y.

Untitled # 321 Acrylic paint on 3 sheets of tempered glass 24 in. X 36 in. X 3 in. D  2013The Russel Wright Design Center is pleased to announce Ecstatic Light– the illuminated paintings of 2016 resident artist Peter Bynum. A site-specific installation of Bynum’s works will be on display in Russel Wright’s House and Studio, marking Manitoga’s first presentation of a contemporary artist within the interiors.

The installation will be on view during seasonal public tours and special programs, including artist-led tours. A Member Opening Celebration will be held Saturday, May 21, 2016, 5-7pm.

Says Executive Director Allison Cross, “Peter Bynum has conceived a new way of painting. He presses paint between multiple sheets of glass to release its primal energy, then infuses it with light to expose paint’s intrinsic branching behavior. These three-dimensional,illuminated paintings on glass, with their energy and ecstatic beauty, evoke the life-force found in ecosystems throughout nature.”

“In all life-forms, energy circulates through a nervous system,” says Bynum. “In animals, energy flows through a system of veins and arteries, in plants, through roots and branches. Paint has within it this same sophisticated intelligence — an organic ability  to express the life force in action. When paint is suffused with light, this ‘secret life’ of paint is revealed.”

According to Cross, Russel Wright, like Bynum, experimented with light, elements of nature, the effects of layering, and new ways to use materials at Manitoga, pushing boundaries and our expectations. “Peter’s ethereal illuminated paintings represent a significant departure from the history of painting. And like Manitoga, they offer an immersive experience. Our viewing of the installed work will unfold, becoming part of the choreographed whole and intimacy of visiting the site.”

Peter Bynum’s paintings will be a featured element of Manitoga’s 2016 tour season.

Registration for tours and other Manitoga programs and special events is available at Visit Manitoga.