Peter Köhler

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Title: OPEN
Selected works: PETER KÖHLER
Graphic design: PATRIC GUSTERMAN
Edition: 1000 copies
Pages: 112 pages.
ISBN: 91-631-1898-x
Size: 205 x 270 mm
Paper: Munken Lynx 150 G
Printed: Edita Västra Aros
Price: 80 SEK

Preface - Open by Peter Köhler

As I understand it, this never happens, but it did. An unknown artist with no connections to you whatsoever walks into your gallery unannounced, and you want to work with him.

When we met, Peter Köhler had been here visiting New York City from Sweden for several months and was preparing to undertake a cross-country trip of America. For him, a ¨looking-and-drawing¨ vacation. Once he´d completed his loop and returned to New York and his studio, he produced a plethora of small paintings, in addition to an impessive notebook of fantastic drawings: gun-toting elephants, Lysol `cloud´ creatures, a scene of a Congressional-seeming-body titled, ¨Omni-man¨. I inguired as to the reasons for a portrait of a migrant farm worker with 3 sets of eyes. His answer: ¨He has been working in the field and has been poisoned by the chemicals¨. A caricature of an overweight jolly humanoid posed with his utensils-how come? The simple replay: ¨He is enjoying his food¨.

Peter Köhler´s work, as artist Greg Svetz puts it, is ¨Smart, masquerading as dumb. Much better then a dumb work trying to be smart¨. His style is very straightforward, not unlike the comic books of which he is an admirer, and also very American-circus; he critiques our country in its own language. The humorous angle in art is one that is oft-taken, and too often bogged down in overcompensations of the most mundane sort: attempting to earnestley to be `real´, or trying much too hard to be `loopy´. The beauty of Mr. Köhler´s works is that they are simply what he sees, and what he sees is not of the run-of-the-mill variety. He is able to present observed phenomena through a filter of his own sensibilities that gives them a vigor and freshness that transmute ordinary subjects into phantasmagoria of a different kind entirely; one that also reveals the myriad of alternate realities that exist beneath things appearances.

Peter Köhler´s other great strenght is that he is an accomplished and intuitive draftsman. His works stand not only on their truthful, humorous, or whimsical elements, but are presented by an artist with an accomplished hand, as well as eye, and mind. His works are not obvious representations, or at least that is not all they are. They combine sure draftsmanship with a lyrical, subtle, abstract painter´s ability. He is an instinctual artist, and feels it ¨in his gut¨. His lack of artifice, combined with his over-the-top `realism´ are what caused visitors, upon seeing a wall of these drawings here at Tobey Fine Arts, to-first-laugh out loud, then become quiet as they took in the many levels of information. They departed more than just a little mesmerized and looking for someone to share their discovery with. With this book of drawings, I suspect you will meet similar experience.

Pete Tobey
New York City
October 2001

Page 69, 2001-01-01, Berkeley

Page 74, 2001-01-06, Berkeley

Page 90, 2001-01-25, Pennsylvania - NYC

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