Tressa Miller

Catalog essay for the Cerritos Library Collection

Cerritos, California




In Capital Project: Covered Site (LH1), Peter Hopkins produces extraordinary and seductive surfaces and then makes us look again by questioning what is below the gloss. He uses mixed media to create images of beauty, which emphasize the sensual and tactile. Hopkins’ painting is reminiscent of a stained glass window - an art form that has captivated audiences for centuries- yet the resin covered surface and his intent are completely contemporary. These “paintings” are made without brush or paint. They are constructed of materials such as cheap glittery fabrics, holographic foils, cleaning products, cosmetics and even surgical and medical dyes. Conceptually Hopkins is asking us to consider the dichotomies between inside and outside, public and private, and the natural versus the social. He awes us with the beauty of materials that in another context as chemicals or waste, would be seen as toxic or repulsive. His paintings seem to undulate as we walk by: as the light changes so do their colors, in this way the viewer becomes a part of the work itself. Our perceptions, our vantage point determines what we are seeing, and so suggests that the art object is not a stable thing, but a complex of physical and social “facts” that are always shifting in their relationship to the viewer. Ultimately, Hopkins is urging us to look beyond the beautiful surface of the exterior to find a more subtle understanding through both emotional response and analytic self-reflection.

Click here for Cerritos Library sound clip description of this painting

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