Artist Interviews

Peter Lamb: Painting on the move

We recently caught up with our Select Artist Peter Lamb, whose energy and questioning of the boundaries of painting have produced an exciting and slightly crazy body of work that we can't seem to get enough of.

By Lorena Muñoz-Alonso | 23 Aug 2011

Describe your work in your own words. What are its intrinsic aims and goals?

I want to find a way to keep painting. It seems to me that by allowing collapse into the work there is more chance of renewal. In the sense that, if you push something to the limit, it will break and that’s ok. You can pick up the pieces and work with the remains.

Peter's studio in East London

You are a painter, but you also work very often with collage, sculptural elements and neon installations. Do you consider yourself essentially a painter?

Yes. I always come back to painting. Even when I do sculpture it’s to inform a painting. I want to try and push the limits of what is possible on a 2D surface. The self-imposed limitations of painting are useful to me as a parameter I can collide with.

How does your work relate to your persona? Is it complementary or illustrative of your own character, anxieties and hopes?

I’m sure it reflects my character. I’m easily distracted so I approach a painting layer upon layer, bit by bit. Sometimes I snatch at a painting for twenty minutes and sometimes for a few hours.  The painting thus retains an urgency/immediacy.

Peter Lamb at one of his private views

Born in 1973, you are a decade younger than most YBA's but you have you have developed your practice while they were peaking and even showed with some them. What's your opinion about that phenomenon and what do you think it has produced for artist British artists working today.

Well, I think the YBA generation opened up the possibilities for artists, in the sense that we are able to feel anything is possible. That said, I find it interesting that emerging artists tend to have an inherent sense of entitlement to succeed commercially. If I do ‘A’ then ‘B’ will happen. I’m sure the YBA’s didn’t have an agenda to succeed that way – apart from Hirst –  and it was more about timing.

What artists or art movements have influenced you?

I’m influenced by a lot of artists work, usually for a short while, borrowing ideas and working through them in your own way. I always go back to German painters like Martin Kipperberger and Albert Oehlan. And also to American abstract expressionism.

A group of Peter's work, in preparation for a show in LA

You are curating a show in September. Tell me a little bit about it and how this curatorial practice related to your own work? Is it the first time?

No, it’s not my first time curating. I did a lot of it 5-10 years ago and really enjoyed it but then I felt I had neglected my own practice so I stopped. I curated a show last year of recent graduates and was excited by it so I’m curating another one with Shane Bradford in September called ‘Insurgencies’. The show is all about insurgent attitudes in painting.

How has the experience of working with Rise Art been so far and what do you think of the resulting prints? You have said you are interested in the 'collapse of painting'. What does that exactly mean?

It’s been great, really positive. The process of working with Photoshop has been interesting, as it is a tool I have avoided for years. I have also liked working and having a creative conversation with the team. The resulting prints have collapsed in a sense that they invert on themselves and have a feeling of endless renewal about them. There is no starting point and no finishing point. A painting on the move!

Peter's 'Implosion Explosion' (2011), his stunning limited edition in exclusive for Rise Art

For more information on Peter Lamb and his work, please visit his Rise Art channel.

To see the Facebook event of 'Insurgencies', the upcoming show curated by Peter Lamb & Shane Bradford, please click here.

To see Peter's exclusive limited edition prints for Rise Art please click here and here.


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