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Weighing up the Light and the Shade

LJPeters_Long_Eddy_exhibA brief introduction to my fantastic friend L.J. Peters’ upcoming exhibition, which opens on Thursday at Sydney’s Sheffer Gallery:

The cabin in the woods is a recurring theme in American horror cinema, spectacularly encapsulated in Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s 2012 parody of the same name.

Artist L.J. Peters was travelling in New York at the same time this film was showing in American theatres. Not long before attending a screening, she and her partner took a road trip to the house of friends in Long Eddy, Upstate New York, and found themselves in a setting straight out of American backwoods horror. The starkness of this unpopulated landscape with its derelict shacks, pinewoods and austere churches left a strong impression on the artist. The resulting drawings and paintings with their reduced, often monochrome palette, explore an environment devoid of humans and stripped to its essentials: earth, woods, mountainous horizon.

There’s nothing explicitly horrific about these scenes, yet they are imbued with a sense of the uncanny for those aware of their Gothic associations. Eeriness arises from the fact that each scene is a fragment, a section of a greater whole from which something is hidden. L.J. Peters weighs up the light and the shade, leaving us to imagine whether what’s implied is sinister or benign.

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