Peter Illig is a staple in Denver’s art scene. Having aggressively worked for the last twelve years as an artist, in “Full Fathom Five,” Illig exhibits new works that epitomize his signature style. Known for his use of monochromatic imagery, realist style and surrealist composition, Illig has created five new large-format oil paintings for this exhibition.
This series of work explores Illig’s interest in appropriation and in paint-on-paint pastiche. He has incorporated various images of pre-existing work – including Gericualt’s “Raft of the Medusa” and Winslow Homer’s “Gulf Stream.” Atop these underpaintings, Illig inserts seemingly incongruous images. The effect of this is simultaneously unsettling and intriguing. The exhibition’s title was also taken from seasoned artists, both Shakespeare and Sylvia Plath have used “Full Fathom Five.” Illig sees the process of appropriation as a means to build on the art and ideas that history has provided, in new visually and intellectually challenging ways. This method allows him to show how ideas, events and art of the past and present are all connected –a prominent idea in Illig’s work.
Known for his monochromatic paintings, Illig believes that the monochrome, specifically black and white, offers a documentary quality to the work-presenting ideas honestly and truthfully, where the seductive nature of color can distract the viewer from the ideas presented in the work.
Illig’s canvases are saturated with images and loaded with metaphor which creates a very active viewing experience-the eye is pulled back and forth across the work, and eagerly searches for the answer to the puzzle Illig presents. Illig takes inspiration from quantum physics, philosophy and theory to develop his work. He also aggressively addresses modern issues and themes. This series is heavily dependent on the imagery of water, a metaphor for deeply felt emotion.