News

LED Light Boxes

I am writing to announce a new site to feature my work displayed using LED light boxes. This new site is a complement to my primary website which features all of my prints. 

This new site also combines my interests as a former draughtsman and intaglio printmaker with my continued fascination with all things photographic, as I work to be a part of the continuing search for inventive surprises and innovation.

Visit lightboxes.petermilton.com for more information.

Twentieth Century Limited II

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Twentieth Century Ltd II  (TCL II) is a reworking of my 1998 Points of Departure III which memorialized the 1963 demolition of New York's Penn Station.  The first TCL print also imagined an extravagant rescue operation, adding a gentle twist of collegial irreverence toward 20th Century modernism. For further details, turn to my Artist Notes for the previous version of TCL.   

This new 2017 version of calamity-run-amock was first thrust upon me by the whole new chapter of our own dismaying times now twenty years beyond the the time of the original TCL image. In order to dramatize the amazing degree to which 2017 is surpassing any earlier demolition of a mere railroad station, I found myself unleashing a thundering set of lightning bolts to join the savage train crashes and the yet another careening in. This is the latest offering for the ever-growing oeuvre of images from an increasingly committed catastrophist.

I have now combined the running Marcel Duchamp with an equally commanding and audacious Louise Bourgeois. She is busy with an imagined twin, an irony originally suggested by the title of her 1946 construction,"The Blind Leading the Blind”. She is sending forth a stealth variant of one of her towering avenging spiders. Duchamp is carrying the crack and breaks from a shipping accident to his "The Big Glass"  which he then perversely decided to like; and also carries my future Y2K Millennium variant on his "Box in a Valise” series, with its pointed designation of "The Exterminating Angel".

Art is Truth and lies are not. My phantom duo arrive from another period of difficult times with this smoking message for our own growing legion of the aghast and repelled. The pair's animated presence is anticipating the arrival of the first responders. As I write, the first indictments have just been issued.

Louise Bourgeois
Marcel Duchamp

Peter Milton

petermilton.com 2.0

It's been been two years since my website was updated. Steve Brixner, my webmaster, was in increasingly failing health, and finally last October his valiantly fought bone marrow transplant battle ended. His loss is devastating to all of us all who knew him.

Steve's site was unique, highly personal, and in many ways irreplaceable. But for many months I have been working on a newly designed and fully updated return of petermilton.com with Nic Goodman, the brilliant and deeply committed developer of NineBar Creative in Asheville, NC. 

All the links and essays have been restored. There will however be further adjustings and additions. If there are any areas which you feel invite further inclusion or smoother ease of use, we would be more than happy for your imput. I am currently working with The Old Print Shop in New York to bring even more zoom functionality and higher resolved scanning results to many of the earlier images. And shortly we will be adding a newly re-imagined 2017 second state of my 1999 TWENTIETH CENTURY LIMITED.

You may note that the last two years have been unusually active and eventful ones for me. To start you might want to look through the "News" and to catch up with the latest "CV: Chronology" developments. I am pleased to be able to finally offer some sincerely felt relief to all interested after such a long hiatus of news and neglected happenings.

Aspern Papers

 
 

THE ASPERN PAPERS is a classic tale by Henry James of duplicity foiled and love denied. Taking place in Venice, this print version is a gleaned set of eight prints developed and further opened up from the earlier 18 drawings portfolio of 1990-92. 

I was intrigued by the question of how the images might benefit from the highly refined layering approach I had been exploring from my decade's adventure of working with Adobe Photoshop. My challenge was to stay true to the touch and textures of the original graphite drawings, and to remain equally resistant to the more facile or pre-programmed filtering that can so often de-personalize an artist's intentions, as intriguing as those effects can be.

I am including an accompanying link of the detailed chapter I wrote for my 1993 drawing catalogue raisonné, The Primacy of Touch. It follows my Venetian adventures, among which were the photographing and drawing of the now cat-infested derelict palazzo, and the ravishing Lake Como sojourn of three months at the Rockefeller Foundation's Serbelloni Villa in  Bellagio, Italy. It was a career's high point for me with its dream pursuit of the intricacies of this tale of sly guile and of a love's labors lost.

The original Aspern Papers drawings portfolio was my second commissioned project of a Henry James novella following The Jolly Corner, suite of 21 prints of 1969-71. One sportive ambition of the present print set is for each of the eight prints to contain images of the Master himself, strolling, brooding, or stalking his literary prey.

The eight print suite is an archival digital edition of 75, measuring 14 x 22" on 22 x 30" paper.

En Plein Air

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With the 2015 print, TSUNAMI, I started the disaster series of which EN PLEIN AIR  is the second print. The triumphant artist in TSUNAMI has become two anonymous artists on a weekend excursion of plein air painting. They are working on a sumptuous stretch of cobblestones which I derived from a celebrated village square in the old colonial town of Villa de Leyva near Bogotá, Colombia.

The two artists have been at work, the closer one painting a hussar on horseback. But an air-show or hostile jet, hurtling across the square, is heading towards a crash. The horseman in all his parade finery is thrown from the horse and the bucolic en plein air painting session is ruined. A group of panicking hussars’ horses stampede, while puffs of bullets—or is it dust?—echo the speckled rhythms of the clouds.

Above this disarray, a pilot ejects from the plane. Thrown high into the sky, he turns into the falling figure of Icarus. In fact, joining two roosters scrambling among the scattered painting paraphernalia, there is Brueghel’s painting of Icarus, distant, molten-winged, noticed by no-one, plummeting to earth.

But I find myself becoming increasingly vexed: the drama seems to be devolving into a sloppy gathering of anachronisms. Perhaps the answer would be the re-imagining of the scene as a staged movie shoot. The new question then becomes whether the crashing plane is an element of the movie's script or if it is an unplanned disruption to the shoot itself.

And the plot thickens. The disrupted artists, the disturbed village square, are reminding me of the carnival scenarios of the Italian film director, Federico Fellini. And it is here that a curious set of coincidences begin.  

In pursuing the lore about Fellini, I stumble on a historical account describing his decade long struggle over a filming project around the exploits of a musician who has died in a plane crash and finds himself having to navigate through the complexities of the afterlife. But the project stays plagued by false fits and starts and eventually crashes itself as the Fellini script proves to be unworkable.

And then another never-completed project works itself into my image. Dino De Laurentiis, Fellini’s foremost producer, made a proposal for a film in three parts to be directed by Fellini, Kurosawa, and Igmar Bergman. The project was ultimately defeated by Kurosawa’s failing health. However the three directors did find their way into the print. A discrete Kurosawa film reel reference of his Yojimbo and a distant rooftop fragment of a gathering of samurai appear next to the Bergman iconic dance of death procession from The Seventh Seal. Bergman himself sits in person on the image's border frame and a fierce Fellini stands barely within the frame, bullhorn in hand, commanding the bustle of the unfolding debacle.

I also later learned that a son of Dino De Laurentiis, Fellini’s foremost producer, was lost in a plane crash.

Working out this image was a surreal progression of "what ifs", unexpected coincidences, and countless impulses fading into woeful deletes. I particularly regretted the loss of a towering celebrity-loaded camera crane which had to be finally jettisoned at the altar of compositional awkwardnesses. The vignette’s highlight had been an angelically winged Marcello Mastroianni in his own joyous element as he raises up Fellini’s cinematic vision of mayhem into a final celestial resolution. But my rueful surrender to the clutter-adverse gods did restore the original flow back into its karma of restless inevitability and that was enough of the mysteries of an afterlife for me.

Edition of 70. Archival digital print.
Image Size: 21 x 34" on 27 x 40" paper.
LED light box display:  29" x 45".  Edition: 10 displays. 3 Artist Proofs