This exhibition provides the first opportunity to review the work of Manchester based painter Peter Seal who has been practising in the region since 1982.
In this his first solo show, he has brought together a body of paintings which represent the development of his work since the previous two-person show at Castlefield Gallery in 1991 with Craigie Aitchison and a group show at Cornerhouse, in 1994.
At first sight, his work seems simple, reduced, hard edged. But the paintings are much more than this, their simplicity belies something which is much more charged, more complex and they need to be looked at carefully.
Their impeccable surfaces, achieved through the meticulous layering of oil paint yield little memory of their making. Yet they have other histories. They relate back to the still life’s and interiors of eight or ten years ago shown previously at Castlefield Gallery and further, theirs is a relationship with the intimate spaces of still life’s and interiors by Chardin and Vermeer, where ‘looking at’, ‘looking into’ in a pictorial way and ‘looking beyond’ in a metaphorical way are important.
This exhibition consists of a number of small works – painted reliefs which articulate colour, space and light in an intricate and witty way. Set against these are a small number of larger works, which seem more ponderous.
The way the work is hung in this exhibition respects the space the paintings need in order to allow for the slow release of their energy. Similarly in their viewing, these paintings have to be given time, enjoyed slowly, in order to allow an empathy to develop, a relationship to be established and for their rich reserve of energy to be released to the viewer.