Press & Blog

Peter Di Gesu's East of the Peaks

Published Jul 12 2022

excerpt from: Review| Billie, 


A Halifax Feast for the Eyes

Peter Di Gesu’s first solo exhibition at Studio 21 Fine Art, East of the Peaks, to July 6, is a powerful, contemplative experience of space and light. Standing before his serene oil paintings in soft colours of pink, gold, green and blue is an eye-opening, soul-stirring experience. East of the Peaks is a stunning painting of shafts of light in the sky, horizontal bands of pale colour in both sky and land and fields receding to a shimmering horizon line. Born in Los Angeles, Di Gesu drove a lot with his father into the desert, spent his teen years in Kansas and Colorado, “where the plains start,” and loves big open skies and vast spaces. While his paintings are initially inspired by his own landscape photographs, he says they are abstracts about the relationship of form, colour, space and light. “I’m not trying to express anything; the beauty of the earth doesn’t need any expression. If any of that comes through that’s fine but these are just paintings, they’re not the place itself.”

Di Gesu received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute where he was inspired by the California landscape painters and the warring art factions of the abstract expressionists and the hard-edge painters. He uses rulers and masking tape to get the clean lines he wants. This exhibit includes smaller 8 x 8 paintings that look closer to landscapes; however, the exquisite Intersections panels are completely made up. The large paintings, partly inspired by his love of Monet and Seurat, have suggestions of roads, night time lights, the blue sage shrubs he loves, fields, ponds. The blue/green skies one wants to dive into are a colour that’s hard to define. “There’s a lot of cobalt blue in there and then a lot of Naples yellow and a bit of cadmium yellow and a lot of white and a little bit of indigo blue.” Di Gesu has made art since he was a child and has a studio at the Port Annex. “I come in here to sit and it starts happening.” If he has to leave as rents increase, “I’ll go in my basement – I’ve done it in closets – I’ll just paint smaller.”

Elissa Barnard, Billie, Review, July 11, 2022

original source