Sammy Peters creates pensive yet rollicking canvases, expressing a fascinating vision of life’s complex and opposing rhythms. His canvases attract the eye with their unsettling but convincing composition of muted color blocks, twisting and looping white or black lines, and geometric figures formed by striped bands of startling red and white. Drawing closer, the viewer is further transfixed by their sensuous surfaces—a complex interplay of expressive brushwork, scribbles and drips, along with collaged papers and fabrics, and subtly figurative drawn elements, all layered in a way that suggests an intricate, intelligent game of mysterious activity.
As a child in Arkansas during the fifties, Peters was encouraged in art by his father, owner of a sign painting business. His teacher at Little Rock’s Central High School introduced him to abstract expressionism, the avant-garde art of the era. Peters was immediately taken with the rationale, style and execution of this highly expressionistic genre. In 1962, during a trip to the Museum of Modern Art in New York with his father, Peters was inspired by the works of Picasso, de Kooning, Pollock and, particularly, Ad Reinhardt.
Peters studied art history and design while a college student in Arkansas. He attended Little Rock University and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. One of his pieces was accepted into the Arkansas Arts Center’s annual Delta, a regional competitive exhibition, while he was still a student; another was accepted two years later. These early successes inspired him to continue painting even as he considered a career in theater. He studied drama at the Arts Center’s School of Arts and Drama, then spent a year in California with the San Francisco Mime Troupe designing sets and directing.
Since then, Peters has pursued his painting career while gaining renown through solo and group exhibitions in major art centers as far-flung as New York, Atlanta, Boca Raton, Santa Fe, Houston and Los Angeles. Over the years, he has earned many accolades including awards in competitive exhibitions, fellowships and solo exhibitions in major cities. His work is represented in a host of private and public collections from Little Rock to London.