"Our culture, more deeply than any other in history, relates to space through recorded illusions of it, again, through explorations of experience. This shapes how we see."
- Peter Roux
Do you collect anything?
Other people's narratives. I'm endlessly fascinated with the experiences of others, and I try to remember them.
Oh, and t-shirts with skull images on them.
What inspires you?
For me, pretty much everything has the potential. It's ultimately a question of whether I allow it to at any given time. A place I find myself, a random mark on the pavement, a conversation, someone else's work: they all have the stuff...I just need to let it sink in. That's the rub. It requires a bit of calmness on my part. The older I get, the more I appreciate. Daily life just gives it to you on a platter if you can just stop to absorb it.
Lately I've been finding a great deal of inspiration in film. The ways images are offered to us- the tools and vocabularies used to define our experience through editing. In all forms- even marketing. I'm fascinated by all of it.
Peter Roux in his studio
You can go to dinner with one person you’ve never met. Who you choose?
Where did you grow up?
I was a military kid for the first 12 years of my life, so we lived in various places around the US, for short stints. Mostly military bases...although we did land in Hawaii for about 3 years. My family is originally from New England, so when my father retired we settled first in Maine, then ultimately Massachusetts (Boston area).
Peter Roux, Suspension (fuzzy thinking), oil on canvas, 48 x 72
This is tough... it's hard to pick just one. Can't I have a dinner party? However, if pressed for one alone I think I'd have to choose the artist Gerhard Richter. I see him as a restless artist, one who continues to seek new forms for making work (and I understand that urge)...yet ultimately his work always wraps back to explorations about image. He's also been alive longer, and there is wisdom and experience to be absorbed from those who have experienced life for a bigger stretch.
Gerhard Richter Abstraktes Bild (946-3)“ 2016. © Gerhard Richter Köln 2017 (20170123)
Are you superstitious?
I try not to listen to it, but I'll admit that on occasion I think about whether those socks I wore on a crappy day played any part in the day's suckiness, and if avoiding them in the future will decrease the chance of another crappy day. Ultimately, though, I just wear them again. I only have so many socks, after all.
Peter Roux, Suspension (field) I, oil on panel, 36 x 24
Did you know?
Gerhard Richter is a German visual artist. Richter has produced abstract as well as photorealistic paintings, and also photographs and glass pieces. In October 2012, Richter's Abstraktes Bild set an auction record price for a painting by a living artist at $34 million.
Is social media good for art?
In my opinion it's both good and bad, potentially. But like so many changes that occur in our culture that appear to be here to stay, I think it's the wrong question. Instead, I believe a better question is: how one can use the tool? It's changed the landscape of access. So, as artists, collectors, gallerists, appreciators, how can we all best utilize the platform to enrich the art experience? It has caused shifts in how we see work, our ability to connect with it, etc.
I think social media is neither good nor bad, inherently. It just is. How we utilize it is where the tool becomes a help or hindrance. But I think this applies beyond art. I believe social media can cause people to feel that things are a specific way, when in reality the world is far more complex. Immediate access can affect our perspectives, so I think we all need to be careful.
Ultimately, however, I think with art it has the power to offer great connection for us, if we can take responsibility for how we use it.
What is something about you that most people don’t know?
- I love history. I'm a firm believer that we can learn from it. Although we rarely seem to in any adequate form.
- I love pesto, and would probably spread it on anything edible.
- I would love to make films. But I'm not the best at collaborating, and filmmaking requires it.
- I was a really good bowler when I was very young. Had lots of trophies to show for it.
- I used to run a dog rescue in Massachusetts. On a farm. I love dogs.
- I much prefer overcast days to sunny ones.
- I'm a snob when it comes to coffee.
- I'm far more introverted than I might appear to be. I can do well in social settings, but it drains me and, after, I need substantial recharging time.
Peter Roux, Suspension (Column) No. 2, oil on panel, 36 x 24
If you were Thomas Crown, what piece would you steal?
Any Vermeer painting I could get my hands on. There are so few. They contain intimate spaces often created in small formats, yet they read so expansively. They transcend their medium. The life and soul he brought to the simplest of narratives- just sublime.
I'd also try my best to bring the painting I stole to the masses. We all deserve the opportunity to access the rich well of visual art created through history, more thoroughly than we are currently able. I'd let people touch it too. Why not? It's mine now.
Oil or Acrylic?
Oil, oil, oil. (Sorry to be so vague.)
There is an inherent depth to oil paint, one that acrylic tries to capture but falls short on in its plasticity. I'll use acrylic in underpainting formats, but it will almost always get covered by oil in the end. Oil also affords extended workability, due to slower drying time.
Oil is just richer and more complex for me.
Johannes Vermeer c. 1658; Oil on canvas, 49.2 x 44.4 cm; The Frick Collection, New York
What is the strangest thing you believed as a kid?
Ah, so many things. At around age 4 or 5 I believed I could ultimately train a dog to fly, if I just worked hard enough on it. Not by creating a mechanical apparatus to attach to the dog, but through sheer training. They just seemed to me to have dormant flying ability...we simply needed to coax it out of them.
I also believed I could take a normal graphite pencil and, if I just found the exact precise pressure when I scribbled with it, I could make any color. Want to make blue? You just have to take that no.2 pencil and find the right pressure. Any color, across the spectrum. I went through a lot of pencils in that research. Then I discovered paint, and it was a lot easier.
Lastly, I did believe for a short time that I was from another planet. Still a bit up in the air on that one.