Peter Sacks

Recent Works

Mar 6 — Mar 30, 2019
New York, Uptown

Marlborough is pleased to announce the second solo exhibition at the gallery of works by U.S.-based, South African painter Peter Sacks. The exhibition will include some 20 new paintings, including large triptychs, as well as 39 works on paper from the Purgatorio series. The show will open on Wednesday, March 6th, with a reception from 6 to 8PM and will remain on view through March 30th.

Peter Sacks reinvents the practice of collage utilizing a striking variety of materials—cottons, burlap, lace, wood, cardboard. Often one will find text typed onto fabric by the artist using a manual typewriter visible just beneath the final surface of a canvas. The artist refers to his now signature technique as “excavating in reverse.” By incorporating pieces of fabric as well as actual fragments of clothing from Africa, India, Europe, Syria, and Asia, the paintings achieve a universal humanity, becoming richly textured, fluid views of worlds that are both familiar and uncharted.

Though charged and fluctuating, the accretive fields are effectively slowed down to allow for all-over contemplation. Viewers experience everything from ritual, delight, danger, loss or remembrance. In Sacks’s hands, color and pattern are coaxed into cooperation, and the resulting narratives are as visually powerful as they are turbulent. As Leora Maltz-Leca puts it in the exhibition catalog’s essay, “…in Sacks’s powerful paintings, we find the textiles calling to each other from various corners of the canvas, shapes mirroring, pigments reverberating, and echoes of form rippling wildly across a field or burrowing through a whole triptych.”

Though abstract in essence, elements of the paintings—the twisted, torn, dignified pieces of fabric—depending upon one’s own past or current vantage point—might evince flowing rivers, flamboyant vegetation, towering totems, shadows, structures or intimate passageways. Everywhere one turns, the humble becomes incantatory.

Peter Sacks was born in 1950 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and grew up in the coastal city of Durban. Sacks studied at The University of Natal, Princeton, Oxford and Yale. Sacks spent years travelling, most oftentimes on foot, across various parts of South and North America, Africa, Europe and Asia. The artist currently lives and works in New York and Massachusetts.

Works by Peter Sacks can be found in numerous collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; The Collection of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa; The Ethelbert Cooper Museum of African and African American Art, Cambridge, MA; The Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, Oxford, UK; and the Beyond Borders Foundation, Edinburgh, Scotland.


Origins triptych
Origins, 2018 - 2019, mixed media on canvas, 951 × 2251 in., 243.8 × 574 cm
Codex 1
Codex 1, 2016-2017, mixed media on paper, 16 × 12 in., 40.6 × 30.5 cm
Codex 5
Codex 5, 2016-2017, mixed media on paper, 16 × 12 in., 40.6 × 30.5 cm
Township 16 7x7 aa
Township 16, 2018, mixed media on canvas, 84 × 84 in., 213.4 × 213.4 cm
Kyotoprotocol pg.11 20x20 2019
Kyoto Protocol Page 11, 2019, mixed media on canvas, 20 × 20 in., 50.8 × 50.8 cm
Kyoto protocol pg.1 20x20 2018 copy 2
Kyoto Protocol Pages 1, 2018, mixed media on canvas, 20 × 20 in., 50.8 × 50.8 cm


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