by Pete Cullen
October 8 - November 5th
Quincunx, the newest series of still-life paintings by artist Pete Cullen, examines the intersections of history, power, conflict, and communication through the visual contemplation of artifacts of contemporary life in Baltimore City. Time and place are integral facets of this body of work, acting as both mirror and lens.
Silence—a complete lack of verbal communication-- is perhaps intrinsic to the still-life genre.
Evidence of failure of communication and displacement is certainly found in the work of Maryland painter Raphaelle Peale (1774-1825). As Peale’s work is considered fundamental to the visual culture of the Mid-Atlantic region, the exacting replication of Peale’s formal style by Cullen serves as a silent incantation of historical references and subtexts that provide insight into the twin themes of failure of communication and displacement reflected in present-day Baltimore. The reinterpreted subject matter-- heirloom produce and locally sourced pork presented alongside more unsavory elements from contemporary life—oscillate between two distinctly different types of Baltimore commerce: the weekly farmers’ market (which has ties to Maryland’s agrarian roots) and the street corner characterized by the sale of drugs. On close inspection of Cullen’s paintings there is evidence of violence; some of the paintings have been shot, others scorched by flames…
Ultimately, the historical references in Cullen’s Quincunx paintings trace a lineage of silence and protest that spans centuries and cultures—embodying struggles both personal and communal-- while working in tandem with the contemporary signifiers in the paintings to suggest cohesion between disparate ideas, identities, and experiences.
Exhibition will run from October 8th - November 5th
Gallery Hours - Saturday's 1-5pm
218 W. Saratoga St. 3rd Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201