Peter Eastman


02 . 03. 17 – 01 . 04 . 17


Winter has the lowest rainfall.

When I arrive at the river, descending steeply from the forest into the narrow creek, it is barely flowing.

The trees that make up this forest – Stinkwoods, Wild Pear, Ironwoods and Yellowwood – have tiny leaves. The light catching these small leaves creates a unique light, a fine dusting of millions of points reflected.

There is no green light, only grey.

In the studio, mixing grey: Lemon yellow, Prussian blue, Van dyke brown.
Cool grey, Warm grey.
Transparent scarlet lakes. Cadmium orange and red.

Immediacy and reflection,

Attention and immersion,

A seeming contradiction, this shaded place is where I paint light.

The pools are still and cold. Walking through the water, waist deep, the ripples are smooth undulations. They stretch, distort and tear. A veneer. Broken reality.

– Peter Eastman

SMAC Gallery is pleased to present Coldstream, Peter Eastman’s eighth solo exhibition and his third with SMAC Gallery. The exhibition comprises of a series of new oil on aluminium paintings, depicting Eastman’s characteristically pensive and atmospheric forest-scapes.

Eastman’s practice can be described as a form of contemporary impressionism, characterised by similar qualities like small but visible brush strokes, broad compositions and unusual visual angles. Drawn from the Knysna forest region near Plettenberg Bay, where the artist’s family retreat is located, the emphasis of these woodland scenes is on an accurate depiction of light and its changing qualities, rather than dutifully referencing the location.

Emollient and meditative, Coldstream features a selection of works where Eastman’s focus on the shifting qualities of light and reflection has expanded. By depicting movement, he highlights these elements as a crucial part of human perception and experience. The palette is reduced to two colours – one dark, evoking shade, and one light, picking out the “millions of points” of sunlight dancing across the foliage, falling in pinpoints on the branches, rocks and water. Eastman’s skilful chiaroscuro interpretation of light is almost xerographic, yet remains both painterly and expressive.

Coldstream presents a selection of quiet compositions, poised somewhere between figurative and abstract, and suffused with opaque moods and dreamlike memory. The exhibition will be on show at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg until 1 April 2017.

See Artist’s Page: Peter Eastman