Peter Tucker

Art and Experiments in Life

Artist Statement

Ordination kiosk sculpture

Ordination Kiosk. Participants can become ordained and print ordination certificate.

I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a child playing on the seashore, diverting myself in finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

Sir Isaac Newton

 Much of my work revolves around questions of what we believe as individuals and as a society, why we surrender authority to leaders, and why so many of us never stop to consider these questions.

When I was in seventh grade I wanted to become an Episcopal priest, and never really considered other options. As a young adult I started the process of entering the priesthood, and had to complete an essay addressing the main question – why? Up to that point, I hadn’t really asked myself that question.  I realized I couldn’t answer it and finally began to question my religious faith. The result was a lovely and bizarre epiphany not only that I couldn’t become a priest, but that I couldn’t go to church at all.  As an artist, I realized that epiphany lies in the act of exploration and in the ordinary world around us.

My work is not a criticism of organized religion. Rather, it is a celebration of the things about the church that I love and miss:  the pageantry, the architecture, the community, and the music.  These elements of ritual in organized religion served as fuel for my youthful imagination, and much of my work employs quasi-religious ceremony or imagery as a way to encourage questioning, exploration, and celebration of all aspects of our existence.

As a child, church activities were like play to me. As an artist, my playful tendencies arise in material exploration.  My video portrait series of elderly friends began when I realized how mesmerized I had become of old, wrinkled skin.  I have a series of vacuform sculptures that I continue to play with because I love the process.  There is an element of chance in the creation and the forms tend to reveal new and exciting views of the original form. I love to play in the digital realm and I enjoy finding ways to marry the digital with sculptural elements because I love getting my hands dirty and I enjoy the tangible, tactile results.

I often take my inspiration from overlooked, details of everyday life.  In Outside Lies Magic, John Stilgoe explains that exploring the everyday

“not only awakens attitudes and skills made dormant by programmed education, jobs, and the hectic dash from the dry cleaner to grocery store to dentist.  It sharpens the skills and makes explorers realize that the skills acquired in the probing and poking at ordinary space, everything from noticing nuances in house paint to seeing great geographical patterns from a hilltop almost no one bothers to climb, are cross-training for dealing with the vicissitudes of life.  Exploring ordinary landscape sharpens all the skills of exploration.” 

By sharing a playful attitude of exploration and questioning, I hope to provide reminders of the beauty around us, the wonderful quirkiness of our world, and to create for the viewer a moment, however brief, to pause, wonder, question and participate.

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