Since receiving his Bachelors of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and after a ten year hiatus, Peter Manion has been pushing the creative envelope in the St. Louis contemporary art world. Manions typically large scale canvases hint of places from his background in drawing and offset the often vehement strokes and subject matter with a playful use of material, style and sense of humor. His smaller works show a quieter side in a diluted yet assertive manner.
The large paintings catalyze the emotional contents within Manions work, while leaving an openness to being nonrepresentational. Manion’s use of color and frenetic figuration complements his bold use of abstract mark making. He has most recently expanded his visual and conceptual vocabulary, experimenting with sculptural materials and surfaces after attending La Fragua artist residency in Spain. While there he was moved to create works that could exist outside of his studio and larger scale pieces that actually performed better there. While Manion's practice has shifted from canvas to felt and plaster with a much more minimalistic feel, the process itself commands much of his entire body and still very much his hand. The ways in which he makes his marks is now through application of the plaster, spraying of color and the rolling and tumbling of the piece once dried- sequential but not systematic. Each piece transformative, yielding the notion that art can move and be boundless without the fear of losing its place. That it can be straightfoward in its complexity while still bridging the gap between painting and sculpture.
Manion recently completed his second residency at Vermont Studio Center and is continuing to evolve this practice and new body of work.