I grew up in 1970/80s Birmingham, a concrete metropolis in the UK lit by neon signs and street lamps that glowed through air thick with car fumes. Much of my childhood was spent alone in my room drawing spaceships, robots and magical lands with inhabitants that weren’t human. I was painfully shy and didn’t like the real world very much, so I drew my own, more interesting universe that I was happier to spend time in. In my formative years my imagination was fed by Transformers cartoons, pixelated video games, heavy metal album sleeves and science fiction book covers, and their visual language stayed with me as creative influences until I found Krasner, Frankenthaler, Mitchell, Kelly and Newman in the art school library and fell in love with their big, badass abstract paintings. I think about the paintings that I make now as a mixture of all these things – growing up somewhere strange with a TV for company, the mess and chaos of the city, spending hours typing code into my ZX Spectrum to make it draw coloured lines by apparent magic, feeling small and voiceless in a big noisy world, the dynamism of Abstract Expressionism, the quiet precision of the hard edge, the everyday coolness of pop culture and the moody strangeness of teenage subcultures.
These days my studio has replaced my childhood bedroom as the place where I create imaginary, interior landscapes. I’m interested in how we negotiate what’s abstract and what’s real, what’s formal and what’s felt, what’s intuitive and what’s made by logical thought; there are uncomfortable relationships in my paintings and I paint as a means of working them out. My work reflects the graphically complex world in which we now live, where we simultaneously see multiple ‘windows’ on computer monitors, smartphones and digital tablets which display disparate images at once, each with their own temporal, spatial, and visual registers. I’m intrigued by the ways in which the once radical symbols of formal abstraction have become aestheticised signifiers of the dematerialised post-digital image world though Photoshop gradients, desktop icons and coloured pixels. By remixing the things that I’ve consumed visually and putting them onto a canvas I make fantastical worlds where intuitive smears of paint co-exist with hard-edged geometry, and the language of Modernist painting meets the familiar aesthetics of screen culture to make something new but strangely familiar. I believe that everyone should have a place to belong and if you don’t fit into the real world, you have the power to make your own.
Charley Peters lives and works in London and exhibits internationally, showing recently at Saatchi Gallery (London), Eagle Gallery at London Art Fair (London), Hauser & Wirth Showroom (London), Fold Gallery (London), Z20 Sara Zanin Gallery (Rome), Yantai Art Museum (Yantai), Art 2 (New York) and National Museum of Gdansk (Gdansk). Her clients include House of Vans, Facebook, ITV, Centrepoint, Everpress, Boutique Kaotique and Hospital Rooms. Peters completed a PhD in Fine Art Theory and Practice in 2006, which explored notions of interior space in art and its relationship to Freud’s writings on The Uncanny, and she has contributed writing about painting to online and print publications that include Instantloveland, A-N, Turps Banana and Abstract Critical. Peters is a peer reviewer for The Journal of Contemporary Painting and on the editorial board of Turps Banana. She is a visiting tutor in Fine Art at City & Guilds of London Art School, a visiting painting mentor at Turps Art School and a Postgraduate Senior Lecturer at University of the Arts London.
// selected press
2021 3D Studio Tour & Interview, The Net Gallery
2020 Interview with Art Presence
2020 Interview with Blog With Lola
2020 Art Fictions Podcast
2020 Creative Catalyst Podcast
2019 The Delphian Podcast: Questions about the art world you were afraid to ask/Special edition
2019 Charismatic Megapigment
2019 ITV Creates: Charley Peters
2019 Delphian Magazine, Charley Peters and Remi Rough in conversation
2019 Charley Peters, Diary of a Painting
2018 DATEAGLE ART interview Charley Peters