Peter Brown Leighton
April 7, 2016 - May 1, 2016
Peter Brown Leighton
Man Lives Through Plutonium Blast
“My images aim to be twenty-first century relics with roots in the vernacular past. In both content and execution, their purpose is to chronicle the imperfections and impermanence of daily existence, affirming that at its core, life is disorderly, unpredictable, absurd, sometimes disturbing, yet always interesting, and to paraphrase Gabriel Garcia Márquez, also the best thing ever invented—even as we seem to frequently do our very best to test the limits of this idea to the point of extinction.”
When artist Peter B. Leighton was nine years old, he saw the science fiction film The Amazing Colossal Man for the first time. It is an unforgettable Cold War parable, featuring a US soldier who is accidentally exposed to nuclear radiation and subsequently morphs into a 60-foot madman before being destroyed by the US Military. Leighton notes this film’s unmistakeable effect on shaping his worldview of embracing the humor and absurdity of life in spite of its tragedies. This outlook also permeates the artist’s inventive series, Man Lives Through Plutonium Blast. For this body of work, Leighton digitally pieces together analog snapshots to create imaginary vernacular photographs of the twentieth century experience, complete with “monochrome men fallen from grace, ambivalent women standing on the cusp of empowerment and reinvention, and feral, free-range children born to run, all with the enduring threat of an end of the world as they know it circling high overhead.”
Peter B. Leighton is an artist currently living and working in Tumbaco, Ecuador. In the 1970s he served as an assistant to photographer Tom Wright, who was a key figure in documenting the emerging rock scenes in 1960s Great Britain and the United States. Since the 1980s, Leighton has focused his attention on digital imaging as a viable process for fine printmaking, while also serving as a corporate e-strategist for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers, and operating a fine arts digital imprint, Penny Prints Press, in Austin, Texas. This is Leighton’s first exhibition of Man Lives Through Plutonium Blast.