I recently stopped by to visit with Peter Alberice the artist — not the architect. Though there was no way to escape the architect given his painting studio is within his home, a condo in 12 S. Lexington and a building he helped craft into reality. It is one of Modern Asheville’s favorite buildings in downtown given the quality, design and location.
Trained as an architect in Virginia, Peter had always imagined himself painting over the years. Finally, in 1999 his wife Sandy, a photographer, bought him paints for Christmas and so it began. Originally, he began as an architect would by carefully marking off geometric elements for his composition. Once again, the woman beside the man, Sandy stepped in and suggested he might want to have a glass of wine before painting. Laughingly, he abandoned the tape and started attacking the canvas without restraints.
His process begins in his sketchbook by penning forms that have the loose appearance of working out architectural spaces. He then will project one or two of these sketches onto a canvas initiating the composition. Once these sketches have manifested in layers of paint he begins working on the “in between” or the dialogue that happens between the painted sketches. Intuitively, he will then paint over areas to start the process again. He projects and then layers in another sketch, which begins another dialogue between the old and new. Though I’m oversimplifying all the thoughts and steps, this process is repeated until the painting finds a natural completion.
Peter’s process reminds me of what it might look like to have a time lapsed video overhead of an ancient city. Old buildings are destroyed by natural and unnatural causes. The old foundations are filled in with rubble to support a new construction. Over time this is repeated until there are layers of built up matter that is a mixture of organized components and the loose organic rubble in between. The composition is only complete given both time and a bit of archeology. As it happens Peter was inspired by his trips to cities in Italy.
Peter likes to work on several canvases at once to keep the energy freely flowing and not get stuck on within one composition.
Peter, the painter, is the yin to the yang of Peter the architect. His loose abstractions balance his more structured work. The Painter’s work can be found at Blue Spiral One gallery in downtown. The Architect’s work can be found at his downtown office were he is currently shepherding a few architectural projects for our fast changing downtown. More on that in 2015.