Peggy Cyphers: Passages at The Front Room 

Featured exhibition
A painting of a mountain range

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Peggy Cyphers “Floating Passage” (2012-6) acrylic, sand, leafing on canvas 54”x50”

Peggy Cyphers’ exhibition at The Front Room Gallery in Hudson, titled Passages, integrates disparate painting traditions into abstract landscapes. The technique—fluid brush strokes combined with sand and paint pour—draws from Chinese landscape art, Native American traditions, and Postwar Abstraction. These paintings suggest the natural world’s fragility, mystery, and grandeur, recalling the upward gaze from the base of a canyon.

A painting of a river and mountains

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Peggy Cyphers “Canyon Mist” (2020-22) acrylic, sand, and gold leaf on canvas 70”x50.”

For instance, in Canyon Mist, swirling curly patterns of olive green, raw umber, and bluish-gray become vegetation, soil, and water. The artificial wooden logs at the bottom right suggest a futile attempt to control the stability of the boulders, the two geological giants on both sides— the water seems to erupt through a narrow slit. Cyphers’ strokes dazzle in their expression and precision; from intricate patterns to calligraphic and swift gestures, they are alive and inevitable.

A painting of a river flowing through a canyon

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Peggy Cyphers “Rivers and Clouds” (2015- 22) acrylic, sand and gold leaf on canvas 70”x50”

Cyphers’ work is deeply invested in the primordial: the origins of life and the evolutionary forces shaping Earth’s ecosystems over millennia. Her canvases reflect on geological formations and prehistoric life, invoking nature’s cyclical patterns. In Rivers and Clouds, curvy lines, drooping spikes, and airy pastel-colored shapes with tinges of red converge to create an evocative syntax. This forms a visual language that seeks to decode the underlying patterns and rules governing the natural world.

A painting of a waterfall

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Peggy Cyphers “Waterfall Cove” (2020) acrylic, sand and gold leaf on canvas 68” x 48”

Cypehers exploration of entropy addresses the inherent disorder and decay within the natural environment. It acknowledges the transient nature of existence against the backdrop of Earth’s perennial cycles of creation and destruction. This acknowledgment of entropy as a central force invites us to reflect on life’s simultaneous fragility and resilience.

A painting of a landscape

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Peggy Cyphers “Louise Bourgeois Spider” (2021) Acrylic, sand, leafing on canvas 70”x50”

Cyphers creates these passages in a process that resembles the Surealists’ automatic drawing and writing. Defined by quasi-vibrational patterns at their margins, these paintings respond to the stimuli of cliffs, water, and, at times, hints of inhabitants such as animals, as suggested in the painting titled Louise Bourgeois’ Spider. Cyphers’ paintings in Passages portray a majestic and wondrous realm where weightlessness and kinetic energy co-inhabit the canvas.

Peggy Cyphers: PASSAGES April 13th-May 19th, 2024
205 Warren Street, Hudson, NY