Stefan Peters (b. 1978)


Image from Chronicles by Allen & Overy
Year: 2016
Material: Acrylic on wooden panel
Dimensions: 200 × 120 cm

You must have achieved something really special in order to receive a compliment from the successful and extremely meticulous Belgian artist Hans Op de Beeck. His fellow countryman Stefan Peters managed to gracefully receive such an endorsement. Not only does Op de Beeck praise his way of painting, but also his versatile body of work in which he “fundamentally speaks about nature, man, representation and depiction… He does so in a sober, gorgeous and intense manner.”

Stefan Peters mainly paints landscapes, but he argues that in essence, he’s not a landscape painter. For Peters, painting landscapes is a way of working with paint, investigating the possibilities of painting. That sounds very classic, but Peters is a contemporary artist who uses modern technology. For example, he “travels” around the internet using Google Earth in search of interesting landscapes. Such trips provide him with an abundance of visual material which may serve as a starting point for his paintings.

Peters’ background as a graphic designer is revealed in his work as he incorporates surprising theatrical effects: trompe l’oeils, misplaced shadows, reflections and strange cut-outs. His work Chronicles has a graphic and clear composition, especially when viewed from a distance. The painting is composed of a large number of small landscapes that are placed next to each other as well as underneath each other, like a photographer’s contact prints. He uses tape to determine the number of images and the size of them. Peters then randomly sets to work and fills the small white spaces with paint as he goes along. As he skillfully adds a few touches of transparent acrylic paint, he creates the suggestion of entire worlds in which mountains, valleys and dense forests predominate. The paint seems to determine for itself when such a miniature painting is finished. This is usually the moment when a landscape starts to emerge. As such, his approach touches on traditional Chinese painting, in which suggestion and calligraphy play an important role. Peters himself describes his method as “both meditative and gruelling”. Seeing that some of his works are filled with several hundreds of such fantasy landscapes, you instantly take his word for it.