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Photograph by Edward Acker

PETER DELLERT Interview by H. Candee Photographs by Edward Acker or otherwise credited

I recently saw your work at aMuse Gallery in Chatham, NY, and firstly, to say, there is nothing better than seeing your work in person and up close! I see that as an artist you use and reuse new and old materials and objects, natural materials and found materials, some really simple, others interestingly complex. There seems to be a sense of pure satisfaction in this for you. Can you tell us more about that inner feeling, how you use it to your advantage in making art? Peter Dellert: I stumbled upon using leaves to make art one fall after recently becoming single again. I had been riding the train to New York City from Springfield and you pass lots of dilapidated factories in places like Bridgeport CT. The window grids in the factories were fascinating, some altered or painted, some replaced. Somehow, I made the leap from Albers’ square within a square paintings, to something I could do only using natural materials. That was in 2005. I keep adding materials as I discover them and then figure out how to use them. Garlic skin is hard to 30 • JULY 2019 THE ARTFUL MIND

glue down. Wasp nest tears and resists accurate cutting. Leaves fade, so I coat them to protect them. Sheet music is mundane until you cut it into strips or squares and rearrange them. There has been lots of trial and error before I get what you see in a finished piece. I am an experimenter. Eva Hesse used to call these kinds of experiments her “tests”. You have to do a lot of this, especially with materials new to you, before you can begin to design and make finished works. All these weird materials have become my palette. It might be easier to be a painter, but first I have to teach myself how to paint. That might come later. People then may guess that your personal life must be fun and satisfying, as well. True? Tell us how you live your life today, and what were the key points that lead up to where you are at today? Peter: Being an artist is challenging, sometimes a

struggle, but yes, my life is good and rich and often fun and exciting. I live in a community surrounded by a group of friends some of whom go back decades. I have lived in the Valley, as we call it, for forty years and I tell people when they ask that the reason I stayed was when I looked around the cultural offerings were so numerous, especially music, that it just seemed like it would be a great place to live. I still like it here. Three Truths, Peter. So much to understand, yes? Not just the material physicality but also your mental comprehension and understanding that has evolved for you. Reveal what you have created in the Three truths, please. Peter: I created the title for a suite of sculptures I proposed for Sculpture Key West in 2009 which were not funded. I first came across the idea looking at the work of David Nash, a British sculptor of some note who worked then in charred wood, among other things. He had created three pieces, a sphere, a cube and a pyramid, each two or three

Profile for harryet candee

the artful mind july 2019