VAP2020-Q4 Words and Pictures

A rabbit in the garden: Peter Tresnan

In a recent exchange, I was able to get a sense of the work Peter Tresnan has currently been making and more intimately, a sense of his direction. An artist whose interests revolve around exploring identity politics and allegories, Tresnan’s paintings at once evoke a carefulness and affinity towards simplified visual language in order to create each image. 

A New York native long active as a teacher and volunteer in the LGBTQ senior community, Tresnan’s most recent drawings and paintings depict an unfinished world, encompassing as many colors as there are smells on any given day in this modern Gomorrah. 

Peter’s stark figuration grounds his compositions within a tender freeze frame, allowing the subconscious to take over further viewership. Likewise, his interest in identity creation and the many features of performance underscore these figurative compositions, fixing the unfinished space of these paintings as room for the audience to fill with their own recollections. 

Recent work reflects art historical interest in the inclusion of symbols that allude notably to sexuality, such as the rabbit. Histories in countries such as China and Greece use the rabbit suggestively to depict same/multiple sex couplings, and you can find them littered in reflection through some of Peter’s more recent painting’s. Peter’s unfinished and colorful renderings of rabbits and figures seem to aid in revisiting the history and complexity of private human sensuality. 

I remain eager for more of his colorful washy narratives.

About the artist: Peter Rowane Tresnan is a queer multimedia artist and educator in New York City. He uses figuration and education to explore identity, queerness,  liberation, and radical love. The imaginary and mythological act as engines for creation and world-creation. There is a narrative thread in much of his work. His website is:

About the writer: Cole Bourgeouis studied under the SMFA and Tufts University Fine Arts Combined Degree Program in an interdisciplinary structure, with a concentration in painting and art history. Her website is: