The Alan Koppel Gallery is pleased to present Peter Dreher: Day by Day, Good Day, an exhibition featuring German artist Peter Dreher’s ongoing lifework. The series of seemingly identical canvases all take the same subject: a transparent water glass placed on a nondescript table against a white wall. Always setting this still life in a corner of his studio in Sankt Märgen, Dreher has returned to paint the same glass for over 5,000 renderings since 1974. The series is roughly split into works made in the daytime and at nighttime; the artist’s only rule is that when sits to begin a painting, it must be completed that same day. Bringing such persistence to his art, Dreher’s series reads something like a diary, chronicling a practice of meditation that affords the artist a sense of immediacy and stillness.
Dreher lost his childhood home early, and has always sought to reconcile this sense of homelessness. Only thirteen years old at the close of World War II, Dreher inherited with the rest of his generation a country lost, divided, and scarred. Day by Day, Good Day is as much a routine of coping and healing as it is an exploration of artistic conventions. Incidentally, Dreher’s mesmeric series is really a byproduct of his desire to assert the particularity of his realist style, to feel present and at peace, and to create— however unconventionally— a space to feel at home. The evocative intentions behind Dreher’s creative process reveal how such unassuming, empty glasses manage to give an inimitable awareness of the artwork as secondary to the practice of a greater intention.
The Alan Koppel Gallery is also displaying works from Dreher’s recent series Silver Bowls (2010- 2012), a meditation on a silver goblet the artist found on a trip to New York. Dreher’s occupation with time and the subjectivity of visual experience is playfully captured here, once again eliciting profoundness in the abstract reflections of a common object.
Peter Dreher (b. 1932, Mannheim, Germany) studied at the State Academy of Fine Arts at Karlsruhe from 1950 to 1956, and was Professor of Painting at the State Academy, Karlsruhe, from 1968 to 1997. During his professorship, he taught and influenced a number of acclaimed artists, including Anselm Kiefer. Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented at institutions internationally including Milton Keynes Museum, Great Britain (2013); Landesvertretung Baden-Würtemberg, Berlin (2012); Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Geneva, (2011), Museum Erfurt, Germany (2008); Athens Biennial (2007) and Staatliche Kunsthalle (Baden-Baden) (1977). The artist lives and works in Wittnau, Germany.
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