lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
Tufts University Medford Ma. (USA) Robert Mclaughlin Gallery (Canada) Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery (Canada) Art Gallery of Sarnia (Canada), Art Gallery of Northumberland (Canada) Paul Grey (Richard Grey Gallery) (USA) Private Collections USA, Canada, israel, europe
Pentagon, Washington DC (USA), Bethesda Naval Medical Centre, Bethesda, Maryland (USA) Trinity Chapel, Trinity College, University of Toronto (Canada), Trinity Anglican Church, Lambeth, Ontario (Canada), St Grace Church on the Hill, Anglican, Toronto (Canada), St Johns Anglican Church, London, Ontario (Canada), St Georges Anglican Church, Cambridge, Ontario (Canada) St Pauls Cathedral, London, Ontario (Canada), All Souls Anglican Church, Willowdale, Ontario (Canada)
Peter Wilde's, Lives of Others
Throughout his two decades of exhibiting paintings, sculptures, and installation, Peter Wilde has explored the idea of community with equal amounts of enchanted vigour and bemused scepticism.
From early sculptural portraits derived from (intentionally) failed communication strategies, strategies concocted by Wilde himself, to a series of works that sought to assemble loose communities of strangers into idiosyncratic “families” known to the artist -- high school students, his child’s baby sitters, fellow diabetics, his former wife’s fellow women Anglican priests, phone sex enthusiasts, male hustlers and the staged families found in reality television – Wildehas created a vast and varied, teeming life narrative, the narrative of an artist fascinated by human commonalities and the processes by which strangers become friends
In other words, Peter Wilde was creating social media long before the social media explosion.
Wilde’s current paintings turn the prevalence of social media on its head by examining not how communities are constructed via portals such as Facebook and Twitter, but, rather, how the medium of photography, allegedly a method of capturing the immediate and the real, has worked in tandem with social media to turn self-portraiture into a profoundly inexact science. In Wilde’s explorations, social media does not reflect its subjects, it refracts them, smashes them into uncountable fragments.
Using the self-generated images (of everything from picnics and parties to studio-style “head and shoulder” shots) posted online by Wilde’s former assistant’s 20-something friends -- and only those images made public in 2008 the first year of the social media boom – Wilde has created a body of paintings that show not only a group of attractive young people at play but also a group of young people at play with media itself; a generation of image-based diarists who thrive in a limitless stream of available photographic styles, qualities, compositional and observational strategies (and, obviously, competency) and without any apparent boundaries around intimacy. And, by choosing to replicate found portraits in paint, Wilde adds yet another layer of removal to what is already a self/other, public/private hall of mirrors.
Semiotic twists and turns aside, Wilde’s new works are first and foremost captures of youth in all its glory and foolishness: beautiful youth, wasted youth, youth’s self-indulgence and youth’s nagging insecurity.
Given Wilde’s keen critical gaze (the machinations of social media and the processes of communal self-identification, are, after all, hardly new to this artist), the paintings are surprisingly loving, even tender. Wilde is proving that the more we turn ourselves into instant (and fleeting) objects for casual inspection, the more, conversely, human we remain.