‘Making the known unknown and vice versa’

Listen to the episode

Painter Peter Waite says he works at the intersection of private and public memory. A classroom, for example, may remind the viewer of their own school days. His subject matter is largely drawn from his domestic and international travels, and, except in occasional paintings of statuary, devoid of figures, instead depicting “a scene just before you enter and one last take before you leave.”

He sketches and takes photos on site — “It’s difficult for people to think I’m working but I am”…

Back in his studio, he paints on panels he can stack — “It isn’t art unless it fits ifn the back of your vehicle”….

Panels are “materials from the trades” that recall various graphic art jobs he’s held …

He uses thinned acrylic paints, applying them in “a regime of stains”…

Of the intended effect, he says, “Things are never really in focus, but they are — and they can fall apart.”

A typical good day? “I paint, I eat, I take a nap, I go for a bike ride.”

“Sower/KewGarden/London,” 1991, acrylic on panels, 6×8′

From left: “Greenhouses,” 2016, acrylic on panels, 8×8′; “Crystal Palace, Retiro/Madrid,” 2017, acrylic on panels, 6×8′; “Middle School,” 2020, acrylic on panel, 44×38″


Mentioned in the interview, from left, my recovery from having failed to record our first interview; jazz musician Eric Dolphy

Drawings from Spring 2008 in my Wesleyan Graduate Liberal Studies course, “Monster Drawing: Large Scale Rendering,” with Peter Waite:

A twig, charcoal on brown paper, 36.5×48″; Gregor Samsa from Kafka’s Metamorphosis, charcoal on gray paper, 19×25″. (I added the yellow hair as a political commentary this year.)

I regret that I can’t find my salmon head! 😦








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