Peter Erik Lopez

Peter Erik Lopez, Joey Arias, 2021, oil on canvas, 54 x 64 inches.

Peter Erik Lopez is a painter and recent graduate of the Transart Institute for Creative Research. His medium of choice is oil on canvas. He started with portraiture but realized his primary interest in painting people was hearing their stories as he worked: it was narrative and personal histories that attracted him. This initiated a series of portraits of queer men of color using the format of Greek pottery (color, borders, and text telling their stories) done with acrylic on wood. He also began an exploration of personal history by questioning the veracity of the family-album-as-archive and produced work where he painted images from his family album on scraps of loose canvas but reconstituted them through symbols and disruptions to reveal the trauma, inherited trauma, and abuse elided from the archive. This led to working with his mother’s family album also on loose scraps of canvas.

Peter is half-German and half-Mexican and there are many complexities to explore in having this mixed-race identity. Through her family photo albums, he explored his mother’s German heritage as the daughter of a Nazi soldier and an eventual apologist for her father in another set of paintings. Other larger-scale work involves an exploration of his father’s history as a dark-skinned Mexican. As a result of the pandemic in connection with attaining studio space at AAI, Peter has returned to portraiture understanding that the in-person connection to his art that he gains through live-sitting portraiture is an important touchstone to his practice. Peter has recently been accepted into The Drawing Center’s Viewing Program for 2020/21 and recently exhibited two portraits at BWAC in Red Hook Brooklyn.

Peter Erik Lopez’s residency is made possible through AAI’s ongoing partnership with Residency Unlimited.