By M. Osberg
David Allan Peters’ hallucinogenic paintings have a vibrant quality that is distinctly Californian. Inspired by the natural beauty of his West Coast home, the Cupertino native renders the area’s flora and neon haze into radiant, fractal-like patterns. At first, his midsized paintings on wood panels might appear to be composed of simple brushstrokes, but the reality of Peters’ process is much more complex.
The nearly meditative level of patience required to create such works could be also described as Californian. For these canvases, Peters layers monochromatic sloshes of pigment, sometimes by the hundreds. He allows each coat to dry before working back into them, cutting and scraping away the paint in miniscule increments. (Though they aren’t part of this exhibition, Peters creates geometric sculptures from the discarded paint chips.)
The patterned notches in these layers of paint vaguely recall organic shapes—tree rings or waves, if such naturally occurring phenomena were washed in baby blues and hot pinks. Intensely physical and complex, Peters’ paintings could be seen as crystallizations of the psychedelic styles popular decades ago in his home state, blown out here to more formal incarnations.
In interviews, Peters has described his two processes—additive and subtractive—as occupying two different areas of his brain. For him, the painting process is relatively loose. “Happy accidents” happen as he paints, he says. “As far as carving goes, it’s just one little chip at a time. Like a mantra…until the painting becomes harmonious.”