Discovering a Friendship: Isaac Levitan and Anton Chekhov
18 March - 14 April 2023
Over the last few years things that have interested me about Russia have come very much to the fore. Along with other artists I've got to know the paintings of Isaac Levitan, a 19th century Russian landscapist, who’s work seems to have been neglected in England. While he was alive his paintings, in Russia at least, were described as ‘mood landscapes’. I learnt that he was a close friend of Anton Chekhov, who’s short stories have always resonated with me. Chekhov was born at Taganrog, a port on the Sea of Azov which is really part of the Black Sea and so close to Ukraine and The Crimea. That friendship between such a writer and such a painter gave and gives me courage.
Peter Archer's paintings are the result of a search, often a long, round-the-houses search, which mix memory, imagination and a sense of of the world with the demands of the painting he's working on. He says he does not want this process to be obvious, but for the completed painting - the final image - to have the 'robustness of reality’. The land and the sea continue to provide most of the subject matter for the paintings.
Archer has lived for several years in rural France, in a landscape he finds deeply attractive, but is aware this has made little difference to the 'the bank of imagery and memory' he draws on to make his paintings. He adds, 'When it comes to painting it seems you can't choose what will bubble to the surface.'
Peter Archer exhibits regularly in London and has had several exhibitions in Europe and two in New York. He was shortlisted for the Jerwood Prize in Art Stable.2001 and last year was runner up in the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize. His work is in the collection of the Royal Academy, the Arts Council, the University of Utrecht and corporate and private collections in Europe and America. This is Peter's fourth solo exhibition at The Art Stable.