Artist's Statement - Summer 2004

All the time I see things, and wish that you were here to see them with your own eyes...I have a fantasy that if I concentrate hard enough I can send them to you so that you might see them in your dreams.

                         --Louis De Bernieres, Corelli's Mandolin

I have photographed seriously for the past fifteen years--almost daily since 2002. My material is daily life and appearances as I find them: the world in the ordinary course of my work and family life, and in the social life of my generation and class. When I travel, I also photograph what a passing stranger observes and feels in various U.S. and Western European locales.

As at any moment the world only discloses the appearance of its own historical time, my theme, simply stated, is the way we live now. I strive to present experience, visual and emotional, and to create characters at moments of true feeling. I strive to keep my pictures free of extraneous information and of forms created only for the sake of effect. In their concentration on subject, my pictures are emblematic as opposed to discursive: I wish neither to describe nor to explain nor to narrate.

I also try to express the impact of experience. As this affects sight, feelings and consciousness, I strive for pictures at once observant, lyrical, and meditative. My point of departure for a style to contain all three models is the flexible plain or middle style.

I see, feel, imagine, and speak most accurately, authentically and authoritatively about what I know first hand. I am 65, and oncologist in Amarillo, Texas, where I grew up and to which I returned at 37 after an Eastern education and 9 years' practice in Washington, D.C. My work keeps me close to pain and death. I believe that life is good despite the false values, injustice, conflict, crises, catastrophes, and suffering that always beset it--none of which I wish my pictures to deny. My work, then, is an imaginative account of life as seen, I hope, unsentimentally but with feeling, intelligence, and honesty from the vantage of my generation, class, experience, and sensibility. My intent is that it affects viewers to contemplate, feel, and re-imagine our present condition from their own vantage points. I believe the importance of this work was best described by Cezanne:

From the reindeer on cave walls to Monet's cliffs on pork butcher's walls, you can follow the path of human development...From the hunters and fisherman peopling the tombs of ancient Egypt...the Frescoes of Pisa and Siena, the mythological paintings of Vernonese and Rubens...a spirit emerges...everywhere the same: memory translated into objective form, the painted memory of man achieving concrete existence...We are the same man.

 

                                                                                                                                             Phillip Periman

                                                                                                                                             July 14, 2004