Meet Peter McGrath
A Bit About Peter
About Peter McGrath
Peter’s interest in art began with Drawing from Nature with Capt. Bob. He progressed through painting copies of book covers from the shelves of his older siblings to genuine art classes, and eventually graduated from high school on Cape Cod as an art major.
After a detour to the work force for several years, he attended the Art Institute of Boston (now at Lesley University), and earned a BFA with Honors as a sculptor and printmaker in 1995. Intaglio prints from his time at AIB are in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Boston Public Library.
Having little interest in piling up more student debt or joining academia, Peter returned to the general work force to pay his loans and provide for a studio. He held jobs in and out of the art community; line cook, graphics & layout artist for medical publications, Preparator’s Assistant at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, laborer at a bronze-casting facility, and prepress operator. While cooking in Provincetown, he attended classes taught by Sal Del Deo at the Provincetown Artist Association & Museum.
In 1998 he landed at the live/work building at 226 Pearl Street, Somerville, MA, working with public sculpture artist John Tagiuri of JT Studios, making presentation illustrations and fabricating large-scale public sculptures. Peter took over his live/work space there and stayed.
Peter’s work has been exhibited at Gallerie Mourlot and First Expressions Galleries on Newbury Street in Boston; the Beside Myself Gallery of Sculpture in Woodstock, Vermont, in private homes and B&Bs in Provincetown, and local venues supportive of the large artist community in Somerville, such as the Diesel Cafe in Davis Square. He participates in Somerville Open Studios and was the coordinating representative for the 226 Pearl St. building in 2005.
His interests have expanded over time. Taking side jobs with a cabinet maker-neighbor, he started playing with furniture and turnery. The play in all media and processes continues.
Pieces of his work -paintings, sculptures, tables, cabinets, vases & bowls – are in homes (and in use) around the U.S. and the world.
His studio is still in Somerville, MA. His new website, www.petermcgrathstudio.com will launch during the Blue Heron Gallery Online show in early March.
Walnut Slab Table
It’s an incredible privilege to be able to dedicate time and resources to make art objects, regardless of how practical those objects may be to us, and even more so under our present circumstances.
Thank you to Blue Heron Gallery Online for showing this group of work, and to the viewers taking the time to look. The works in this group were made with common materials with which we have long-established relationships, and use for very mundane purposes. That use is continued here.
There is an aspect of alchemy in all the objects’ manufacture, insofar as they are an attempt to make physical the inner dialogue we all have in one way or another. They are to aid in the digestion of our common situations, a visual Rolaid, maybe.
The portraits are images of the people as they were and presented themselves in that moment. Whether traditionally representational as in the portraits, or metaphorically represented in sculpture, they express loud internal voices and processes quietly. Well, mostly quietly.
Of course there are always those who tell me I have to choose – be a painter, or be a sculptor, work representationally or work abstractly. Almost always, this advice came from marketing consultants, or administrators, or others who are comfortable with compartmentalization.
I’ve been influenced and motivated to make these works by a woman in line at the grocery store, by conversations with friends, by a Beatles song, and sometimes by other makers. Viewers don’t mention seeing artistic influences, though a painter once suggested that the portraits could be the love-children of works by Anselm Kiefer and Alice Neel. I was not sure I agreed with the description.
Something that came up in conversation recently is a performance I saw by Miles Davis many years ago. He played very little. The notes from his horn seemed to drip out of the instrument, slide into the mic, ooze out of the speaker and into my ear like mercury. No hook, no high volume, maybe a chorus, maybe not.
I enjoy the idea that these works can be experienced in a similar way. I also enjoy the idea that these may be objects fought over in the future by grandchildren when the original owner is dead.
I have an excellent inventory of exotic woods waiting to become their destined use. If you see something you like among this collection, I would be happy to accept commissioned work for you. You may contact me through the Gallery if you are interested.
139 E Quincy Street
North Adams, MA? 01247, USA
In the Heart of the Berkshires Art Community
Around the Clock, Around the World