My theme for Open Studios: Roda Viva

For this year’s SF Open Studios, I’m creating a mural in my studio inspired by the song Roda Viva by Brazilian artist Chico Buarque. The song was recorded in 1967 and is about the “wheel of life” that can suddenly change our fate, with lyrics that contain many metaphors and allusions to Brazilian culture. At the time it was recorded, “roda viva” was also understood as a reference to the Brazilian military dictatorship and the political turmoil at the time.

This video features Chico Buarque performing the song at the 1967 Festival of Brazilian Popular Music. This version includes English subtitles that I don’t really love but gives you the general idea and covers some of the themes I include in my work. I love this video, especially the views of the audience members singing along, especially considering the intended meaning of the song.

Peter Howells 2019 Open Studios

Roda Viva: Destino, 2019. Mixed media, 90 x 90 in.

I’ll be participating in this year’s San Francisco Open Studios at Arc Gallery at 1246 Folsom Street in SF. For the weekend event, I am creating a 8 x 30 foot mural on my studio wall inspired by the song Roda Viva by Brazilian artist Chico Buarque. It is probably the most ambitious installation I’ve ever done and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone.  

Peter Howells Studio
Arc Gallery & Studios
1246 Folsom St
Studio 205
San Francisco, CA 94103
Opening Reception
Friday, November 1, 7-9pm

Open Studio Hours
Saturday, Nov 2, 11am – 5pm
Sunday, Nov 3, 11am – 5pm

Redacted group show at ReachArts

They Have an Advantage, 2019

SWAMPSCOTT, MA, July 30, 2019— ReachArts, Swampscott’s Community Arts Center hosts Unredacted, a mixed-media exhibition featuring 7 artists who, over the last two decades, have studied with the collaborative duo rosenclaire, Rose Shakinovsky and Claire Gavronsky, artists and educators who run workshops and residencies principally in Italy and South Africa.

The exhibition features work by Tereza Swanda, Peter Howells, Diane Jacobs, Angela Rose Voulgarelis, Dorota Mytych, Michael Miller, Melissa Morris

“As a group, we are working with the following themes: gender and economic inequality, violence against women and children, migration as a means of potential political asylum, destructive thoughts that perpetuate social and political division, as well as the collapse of hierarchical cultural structures. 

Acknowledging the political post-truth world we now live in, as artists and activists, we aim to shine a light on sustained inequities and offer more humane alternatives.”

On View: September 7- October 19th

ReachArts is a volunteer-led community arts and humanities center in Swampscott, MA. Our mission is to provide a home for a diverse community to unite through artistic expression.

Artist Statement

As an artist, I explore themes of creation and destruction,  the illusion of permanence and the inevitability of change. Just as nature transformed the earth over millennia resulting in the world as we know it, including us, so too does humanity both destroy and recreate our planet with an outcome that is both profound and uncertain.

My works serve as an analogy to the powerful forces of both nature and humanity. Using found objects, impermanent media and imagery whose original purpose has become obsolete, I have rearranged their parts to create new and unexpected forms. My work also often contains multiple levels of visual interest, withs pieces having abstract and geometrical structures at a distance, colors and tones with, with closer inspection, reveal remnants of information and additional layers of patterns, forms and materials.

Cartography series

Cartography, 2010-2016. Mixed media, 96″ x 300″ in. more or less

When I conceived of Cartography series piece, I wanted to work large but was not in a location where I could purchase and transport large canvases, so I made the work from small pieces of cardboard I found in the street and piece together. I made a couple of important discoveries working this way. Using “recycled” materials freed me up to be less precious about the work, allowing me to explore themes and styles in a way that I resisted previously. The modularity also allowed me to continuously expand and contract the scale of each work, swapping and exchanging entire sections of a work that could theoretically be any size that I want.  I’ve worked on sections of Cartography since 2000 and most recently combined a very large and previously unrelated portions into a mural installation.

Rearranged World series

My “Rearranged World” series serve as an analogy to the destructive and creative processes of both nature and humanity, and how humans try to transform the chaos of nature into order. Each piece begins with letterpress typeset tray, discarded from a Chinese print shop that used a technology that has been supplanted by digital reproduction. Inserted within each niche are strips of maps taken from old atlases, with representations of a “rearranged” world from our recent past, one that has since been further altered by humanity.

Cartography

Cartography, 2010-2016. Mixed media, 96″ x 300″ in. more or less

Cartography began as a continuation of my ongoing themes, combining map imagery with wrestlers, symbolizing how human conflict has effectively reshaped the earth in our image and to accommodate us.

When I conceived of the piece, I wanted to work large but was not in a location where I could purchase and transport large canvases, so I made the work from small pieces of cardboard I found in the street, each scrap additing it’s own aesthetic and history to the piece. Working modularly and with “recycled” materials also freed me up to be less precious about the work, allowing me to explore themes and styles in a way that I resisted previously. As another bene t, I could choose to work inany size I wanted and to con- tinue to grow the piece in any direction.

I’ve worked on sections of Cartography since 2000 and most recently combined very large and previously unrelated portions into a mural installation, pictured above.

Fall 2016 Open Studios at Arc Studios

 

mural-composite
Cartography, 2010-2016. Mixed media, 96 x 360+ in.

ArtSpan’s SF Open Studios provides the public with an opportunity to see artists in their workspaces. Art lovers are invited to meet the artists and build their art collections. Join us in the South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood to view a multitude of artists in their workspaces, all within walking distance.

Arc Studios

Location: 1246 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 (map)

Preview Reception:  Friday, October 21st, 6-9PM

Open Studios:  October 22nd & 23rd, 11AM to 6PM

Arc Studio Artists

Kathy Fujii-Oka, Dianne Hoffman, Peter Howells, Soad Kader, Bonnie Levinson, Sasha Merritt, Priscilla Otani, William Salit, Debra Cook Shapiro, Tracy Starr, Denise Tarantino, Samanta Tello, and Stephen C. Wagner

Guest Artists

Carrington Arredondo, Johnny Botts, Jeanne Hauser, Mike Kimball, Barbara Kleinhans, John Kraft, Erin Malone, Alan Mazzetti, Michele de la Menardiere, Sean O’Donnell, Ken Sloan, and Tanya Wilkinson

​”Identity” Arc Studio Artists Group Exhibition

howells-identityI moved into a new studio this year and the resident artists have a group show in the spring. I’ll be showing some recent work in the gallery space on the first floor and large installation piece in my studio workspace on the second floor. You can visit me in my studio during the reception on Friday, March 25 from 7-10 pm and on Saturday, March 26, 12-3 pm.

Exhibition

Arc Studios & Gallery
1246 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
March 22 – April 30, 2016

Opening Reception

Friday, March 25th, 7-10PM

Arc Studio Artists

Kathy Fujii-Oka, Dianne Hoffman, Peter Howells, Soad Kader, Bonnie Levinson, Sasha Merritt, Priscilla Otani, William Salit, Debra Cook Shapiro, Tracy Starr, Denise Tarantino, Samanta Tello & Stephen C. Wagner, with Matthew Frederick

Arc artist studios will be open during the Opening Reception for an opportunity to see artists in their workspaces – Art lovers are invited to meet the artists and build their art collections.

Full details at arc-sf.com

Do Do Do

Do Do Do
Do Do Do, 2005. Mixed media (colored paper, oil marker), size variable.

I wish I could tell you that the production of this work was not the result of obsessive rumination, but… The “tasks” I captured on these hand-crafted “Post-its” were internal imperatives, bottled up as I prepared for a one-person show in 2005. I had also just completed a mixed media workshop, allowing myself to stretch beyond representative painting and drawing into works that could more directly and quickly communicate my feelings. As I prepared my exhaustive “to do” list for the show, I started to question my motivations for creating art and my need to express myself, and these notes to myself took on a life of their own.

Do Do DoI chose paper and colors carefully to provide a degree of separation from literal sticky notes. I also wanted the work to read on a couple of levels, as an abstract work from across the distance but revealing an entirely different layer of meaning when viewed close up, with word play and inversion of clichés to disrupt the viewer’s expectations.

I showed this work for one week, then took it down and stuck in a Ziplock bag for 10 years. Last year, I decided it was time to recreate it and was surprised that I still find it both amusing and compelling. Many of the sentiments I captured were genuine and still resonate with me, representing my hopes, insecurities and under-realizable dreams as an artist and as person trying to create meaningful life while conforming to societal expectations of acceptable and admirable behavior.

Zoom in

 

New Work @ Blomster Studio: Photos

From July 1 July 4, 2012, I showed recent work at Blomster Studios in Guerneville. The gallery was open on weekend afternoons and by appointment. Here are pictures from the show and some of the work.

The large piece, title Oak, was created specifically for the space. I painted the 8 x 16 foot painting over the course of four weeks. I’ve returned to the them of the Oak tree, and especially the branching of California’s valley oaks, several times in the past and have been interested in capturing the branching patterns in real scale.