Recently, I have entered a new phase I am dubbing "The Cowbird Series 2018". My departure point begins with paintings that other artists have either abandoned or completed, but thought enough of to have framed. After obtaining these framed works I begin to transform them into my own. I approach these paintings as if they were never completed and proceed from there. I call every painting in this series a "cowbird" in that a cowbird lays its eggs in another bird's nest and then the host bird raises the fledglings as its own. In this process the new replaces the old in unexpected and exhilarating ways. Once an object is born into this world it is vulnerable. Beauty changes. Art changes... Maybe one of the most famous examples of “cowbird art?" was Robert Rauschenberg erasing one of Wm De Koonings favorite pieces leaving scratches but imbuing magic and mystery.
Part painting, part sculpture, Peter Van Fleet‘s work invites us to experience dimensionality, structure, and vibrant color. Wood is peeled, stressed, recombined, and puzzled to create new surfaces, elemental colors, and plenty of room for thought about the tumultuous power of creation or the soft quiet of a simple melody.
In this new body of work Peter has reworked paintings appropriated from other artists. He calls these paintings “Cowbirds”, referring to that bird which lays its eggs in another bird’s nest so that fledgling will be raised by the host.