Cleon Peterson – Poison @ Library Street Collective

Detroit-based contemporary art gallery Library Street Collective hosts the solo exhibition “POISON” by Cleon Peterson, featuring a collection of over twenty acrylic-on-canvas paintings as well as porcelain sculptures, on view through October 15th, 2015.

The show unveils the aspects that compose and awake the poison and primitive instincts in human action and thought through highlighting the thirst for vengeance, the extreme violence and power abuse that define reality and allow the prevalence of endless conflict, agony, anger and despair. The oppressor-victim relationship is especially interesting because the victim, depicted as its opponent, often seems as an oppressor itself, who would follow the same path if allowed, but remains a defeated one, weaker in the fight for survival, thus it must be eliminated and exposed as trophy of the winner. There is no certainty regarding the existence of a possible stake of the game, no innocence and higher goal in this continuous obsessive struggle expanding in time and space, throughout cultures, and peace is out of reach, as if unnecessary, while the idea of community simply becomes nonsensical in the ceaseless bloodshed.

According to the artist, the exhibition “is about revenge, which is a current of poison running through our culture and other cultures around the world”, and also “a motivation for war and justification for punishment; it’s a social impulse that is destructive and easy to become complicit in.” The artist’s work is “a reaction to the world we live in”: “I’m always thinking about what’s going on inside and outside of our country, between race, power and religion. I think there are huge problems in the world that have been going on forever and people have good reasons to be angry and seek change.”

In a recent interview for Mass Appeal, Cleon Peterson further explains: “I’m asking people to embrace the darkness and evil within us all. Recognizing that this darkness is important because it creates empathy to the “other” by putting us in both the victim’s and the perpetrator’s shoes. Historically, people that don’t recognize this part of themselves often act the most inhumanly.”

Cleon Peterson - Poison

Cleon Peterson - Poison

Cleon Peterson @ Library Street Collective

Cleon Peterson - Poison

Cleon Peterson - Poison - Long Live Death

Cleon Peterson - Poison - Thirst for Vengeance

Cleon Peterson - Poison

About Library Street Collective

Library Street Collective specializes in cutting edge modern and contemporary fine art with a primary focus on artists who have developed their skills and visual art in public spaces. Our mission is to share what we believe to be some of the most important and inspiring artists today. Located in the heart of downtown Detroit, Library Street Collective continues to cultivate a culture of exploration and art appreciation. In addition to exhibiting the works of countless artists in its Detroit gallery and abroad, Library Street Collective has curated numerous public art initiatives many of which can be found in the city of Detroit.

Library Street Collective | 1260 Library Street | Detroit, MI 48226 | (313) 600 7443 |

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Images via the artist and gallery. Exhibition photos: @eljefe313 (more on Arrested Motion).

More info about Library Street Collective on their website, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Find out more about Cleon Peterson on his website, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Read our interview with Cleon Peterson and watch The Creative Lives episode featuring the artist.