San Francisco-based visual artist, Peter Combe, creates three-dimensional artworks using household paint swatches as his primary material, usually hand-punched into small disks. He then fits these disks into bevel-cut grooves on a specially prepared archival material in order to create his pieces, ranging from abstract pattern-based color compositions to realistic portraits of people. Apart from producing portraits commissioned by collectors, Combe also likes to work with images found on social media, especially Instagram. What he finds interesting in working with these images is the contrast between the fleeting, impermanent nature of social media platforms and the more fixed and enduring nature of his artworks, which as he says achieves a sense of ''captured history,'' much like a vintage photograph.
In order to create these portraits, Peter Combe works quickly, thinking of tones rather than colors. For this reason he has organized his palette of over 1,100 colors into groupings based on tonal increments and light-reflecting values, whereby he places the color disks on the ‘canvas’ with the aid of a vintage operating-theatre lamp. In Combe’s portrait works, over 9,000 color chips are placed obliquely on the ‘canvas’ with their colored side facing away from the viewer, making the color not directly visible but faintly reflected on the backside of the chips. This in turn produces a very particular trick of the eye, where colors from the entire spectrum somehow merge, creating homogenous tonal surfaces that, from a specific angle, give rise to a moment where ''color simply occupies space,'' as the artist explains – a visual effect that is almost impossible to capture by photo or video, and which changes depending on the position of the viewer in front of the work.
Selected Solo/Group exhibitions
2015, PETER COMBE, Back Gallery Project, Vancouver, BC, Canada
2014, COMPLIMENTARY COLOR, Pentimenti Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2014, PETER COMBE & EDWARD LENTSCH, Lanoue Gallery, Boston, MA
2014, “PETER COMBE”, YOUR NAME IN LIGHTS BY JOHN BALDESSARI, Illuminated Billboard, Monnaie de Paris, Paris France
2014, POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE, Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York, NY
2013, Drugstore Beetle (Sitodrepa Paniceum) II, California State University, Special Collections Library, Long Beach, CA
2012, POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE, Sikkema Jenkins & Co Gallery, New York, NY
2011, POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE, Cheim & Read Gallery, New York, NY
2011, “PETER COMBE”, YOUR NAME IN LIGHTS BY JOHN BALDESSARI, Illuminated Billboard, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2011, David Horvitz Satellite Exhibition, Les Rencontres d’Arles, Arles, France
2011, “THIS IS NOT A LOVE SONG”, DIGITAL NATIVES, Electronic Billboard Burrard Street Bridge, City of Vancouver Public Art Program, Vancouver, Canada
2010/11, PETER COMBE; PUNCHED & SHREDDED, Smith Andersen North, San Anselmo, CA.
2010, CALIFORNIA OPEN, Tag Gallery, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA., Curator: Karen Moss, Director of Exhibitions, Orange County Museum of Art
2010, TWITTER/ART+SOCIAL MEDIA, Diane Farris gallery, Vancouver, Canada. Curators: Dr. Maria Lantin, Director of the Intersections Digital Studios Research Centre at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Hank Bull, Exectutive Director at Centre A., Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.
2009, 3rd COAST NATIONAL, Curated by Fairfax Dorn, Co-founder & Executive Director Ballroom Marfa, Marfa TX., KSpace Contemporary, Corpus Christi, TX
2009, 4th NATIONAL JURIED EXHIBITION, Curated by Janet Bishop, Curator of Painting & Sculpture at SFMoMA., Axis Gallery, Sacremento, CA
2009, CALIFORNIA OPEN, Curated by Michael Zakian, Director of Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, Pepperdine University, Malibu, TAG Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2009, 24th TALLAHASSE INTERNATIONAL, Curated By Faculty, Museum of Fine Art, Florida State University, FL
2006, DRAPART, Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona, Barcleona, Spain
2005, ART+5, One Point Six Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
2005, KILLER, One Point Six Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
2014, ART MARKET SAN FRANCISCO, SBFA
2014, PHOTO L.A.., THE 22rd ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL LOS ANGELES PHOTOGRAPHIC ART EXPOSITION, Smith Andersen North Gallery
2013, PHOTO L.A.., THE 22rd ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL LOS ANGELES PHOTOGRAPHIC ART EXPOSITION, Smith Andersen North Gallery
2012, PHOTO L.A.., THE 21st ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL LOS ANGELES PHOTOGRAPHIC ART EXPOSITION, Smith Andersen North Gallery
2011, PHOTO L.A.., THE 20th ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL LOS ANGELES PHOTOGRAPHIC ART EXPOSITION, Smith Andersen North Gallery
Laurence Hallier, Los Angeles, CEO and Founder of Show MediaGroup
David Kensington, San Francisco, Principal, David Kensington & Associates
Yves Navarre (Estate), Paris (France), Author
David Nazarian, Los Angeles, CEO of Nimes Capital & Angella Nazarian - Author
Sam Nazarian, Las Vegas, Founder and CEO, SBE Entertainment
Ryan Seacrest, Los Angeles, Entertainer
Mark Smucker, Ohio, J.M. Smucker Co.
The New Museum, New York, NY in 2010, Peter Combe Ode to NYC <3 Design Collaboration, 2011