Peter Shear (born 1980, Beverly Farms, Massachusetts) is a self-taught painter known for his deeply hued canvases created on an intimate, human scale. His paintings’ overriding characteristic is a distinct absence of dogma: elusive and spare, they hover in an interstitial space between abstraction and representation, often incorporating elements of both. They can suggest figures, landscapes, or architecture, or simply exist as spontaneous configurations of lines and colors.
In an interview with Studio Critical, the artist talks about how his paintings begin:
For the genesis of images I’ve often restricted myself to the very familiar—lines, dots, simple shapes. As general and inclusive a vocabulary as possible. It’s become increasingly important to leave behind an image to which no concrete meaning can be attached, only possibility.
Peter Shear currently lives and works in Bloomington, Indiana, and has shown his work across the United States and internationally. He has had solo exhibitions at Cheim & Read, New York; Castle, Los Angeles; Fortnight Institute, New York; KOKI Arts, Tokyo; Herron School of Art + Design, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN; Devening Projects + Editions, Chicago; and A\M Projects, Indianapolis, IN, ATM, Austin, TX.
Group shows include A Game For the Living, Dunes Portland, ME (2023); The Feminine In Abstract Painting, The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation, New York, NY (2023); Real Life, Ilse D’Hollander in dialogue, Galerie Sofie Van de Velde, Antwerp, Belgium (2023); Regarding Kimber, Cheim & Read, New York, NY (2022); Small Paintings, Venus Over Manhattan, New York, NY (2022); A Wild Note of Longing: Albert Pinkham Ryder and a Century of American Art, New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA (2021); Downtown, La MaMa Galleria, New York, NY (2021); Adrian, George, Peter, Sofia e Tamina, P420 Galleria, Bologna, Italy (2019); Locus Focus: Peter Shear and Arvind Sundararajan, 840 Gallery, University of Cincinnati, OH (2018); Basic Instinct, Peter Shear and Ellen Siebers, FJORD, Philadelphia, PA (2016); Good Bad Brush: Peter Shear and Matthew Wong, The Occasional Gallery, Burlington, WA (2016).