One could call Peter Marin’s art many things, such as colorful, robust or abstract. Quite often it is many things. Most of his paintings are made entirely of geometric shapes overlapping and interacting with each other.
Marin is from Mexico City, and moved to the United States when he was 12. Marin has painted abstraction for the past 25 years, working as an artist in San Francisco, Calif., various places in Mexico, Madrid, New York City and now the Triangle. His art has been shown in cities around the U.S. and abroad.
During the next month, 25 of Marin’s paintings, spanning the past three years, will be on display at the Horace Williams House at 610 E. Rosemary St. The Horace Williams House has been exhibiting art since 1972 and regularly displays art exhibits.
Landing an exhibition at the Horace Williams House is a competitive process. Artists wishing to have their work displayed there must apply with samples of their work and are chosen by a board of artists who have also been exhibited at the Horace Williams House. Jacquelin Liggins, one such board member, weighed in on Peter Marin’s art, comparing it to her own.
“My work is more free-flowing," Liggins said. "As the young people say — the rappers say — free style. That’s my work. His work is more dimensional. It has a lot of colors, which mine does as well, but there’s more precision with the angles, and the lines. I couldn’t do that. I don’t have the attention span for that. It’s almost like he’s a master of color design.”
Marin has taught art at Hunter College and the Sonoma Community Center. He has curated and produced many art shows, and has advocated for the arts with various nonprofits. Nerys Levy, another artist who has been exhibited in the Horace Williams House and had a hand in selecting Marin for exhibition, elaborated on Marin’s career.
“We are always pleased when we have an artist like Peter, because he has worked at so many different levels," Levy said. "He’s not only a painter, but also he’s set up a lot of community projects in the Bay Area and also New York.”
Marin’s work is heavily influenced by his father who was an architect. He points to this as the reason for the focus on shapes in his work.
“My father, an architect, sort of inculcated me into the arts," Marin said. "Something he always suggested was to not get into architecture. So I sort of took that advice and carried on to painting — still sort of attached to the arts but not architecture — and my paintings depart from that point on. The geometry, the construction of forms, all of them are very architectural in that sense.”
When asked about the colorful, abstract nature of his art, Marin pointed to the lively color pallets of many Mexican artists and his “interest in the oneiric, and that which is dream-like”.
There is something paradoxical about Marin’s work in that it is completely abstract but extremely precise. He left potential visitors with this to think about in his exhibit:
“The treachery of images, what’s based in illusion — I invite the viewer to have fun with that and wander within the structures of the paintings and to get lost in the possibilities that are afforded in the second dimension.”
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.