Visual Research: Peter Peri (b.1971) – control in graphite

My tutor suggested me to look at the drawings of Peter Peri for his crisps control of working with pencil. Peri is a London based artist (draughtsman, painter and sculptor) who works quite controlled in graphite on smaller scale. Peri takes reference to the constructivism and modern formalism. Some of his drawings remind to M.C. Escher and to some of Paul Klee.

Besides his graphite works Peri is working also in mixed media on larger scale (see: where he works with spray paint, limited palette of colour and ruled lines. Also he uses different surface glosses for his purpose. Those works are close to the ‘Polish village’ series of Frank Stella.

A selection of his graphite works:

The drawings are quite dense in the mark making. Parallel, meandering marks quite uni directional are covering the space, mostly the positive space. In ‘Harlequin‘ Peri applied some more or less dense parallel markings also in the surrounding space. The marks are quite long, extending over several shapes. The grid (as in ‘Brother Body‘) looks like a fabric, the leaks at some edges supports this perception for me. Also it reminds me also to press printing, although the more or less marks are there rather circles than stripes. Further associations: annual rings of a tree.

Quite visible are the drawn outlines that (I assume) are covered with the grid inside and around. There are some leaks and spots around the otherwise ideal image. Those makes the picture more interesting, I am wondering what the artist intended to achieve. I can see that Peri worked quite long time on this images, painstakingly and a bit obsessive as Sue Hubbard describes them (Hubbard, 2004).

I am not so attached to these works, as I feel that they are too controlled and too much ‘constructed’. Although I find the idea of meandering marks that cover the space an interesting idea. For me the works are still quite flat, but what I like is the visual effect of the surrounding space in ‘Harlequin’: through modulation of the density of the parallel marks with forcing some edges a certain ‘volume effect’ is achieved.


  • It is an interesting idea of covering shapes with a regular marking pattern.
  • To work quite dense on the surface on very fine markings leans for me too much towards constructivism. Not something that I would like to see in my own works.
  • My perception of a fabric that is flowing around a shape and covering space could possibly be extended to a more three dimensional perception. Here I will experiment around this.

Drawing in context:

As in project 1 I am looking at folded fabric, I tried to contextualise Peri’s method (with focus on positive space)

Stefan513593 - folded fabric in context Peter Peri

Stefan513593 – folded fabric in context Peter Peri


  • This was rather a sketch to get an understanding about the method. I tried to make parallel lines following the contour for a more three dimensional perception. Quite hard and intense control needed. For the chair I tried ruled lines. Overall it feels to me rather a mechanical approach.
  • However it helped on edge control: pressing the pencil harder where the form goes back, lighter where it moves forward. I will take this up for next studies (and to consider negative space)


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