Popular Lewes gallery reopens with Peter Messer exhibition

You Drink a Bit and Watch the Ghosts is the new exhibition at Star Brewery Gallery, Lewes as it reopens post second lockdown.

Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 8:00 am
Peter Messer
Peter Messer

Running from December 4-December 18, it features the work of Peter Messer who lives and works in Lewes.

It is his first solo exhibition at the Star Brewery Gallery, formerly the Hop Gallery, since Dismays and Rainbows in 2016. It comprises 21 paintings in egg tempera on gesso panel.

The title is taken from a quote from the writer Jean Rhys: “It was one of those days when you can see the ghosts of all the other lovely days. You drink a bit and watch the ghosts.”

Gallery director Neeta Pedersen said: “Peter is well known for his intense tempera paintings, frequently set in, around or parallel with his home town of Lewes. Whilst the settings are often recognisable, the implied narratives and tensions create an idiosyncratic world that sometimes unsettles and occasionally amuses.

“His paintings are filled with arrested moments in which ghosts, voices and unexpected creatures are confronted or sensed, all pinned down within a luminously deadpan egg tempera technique.

“Peter’s intent and watchful paintings, for all their quiet realism, demonstrate that the unseen exists and has properties. He works in a world ignored by many of us until he, deftly and persuasively, reminds us of it.

“Born in 1954, Peter studied fine art at the University of Brighton. He works mainly in egg tempera on a traditional gesso ground and has exhibited in solo and group shows in the UK, US, Germany and France.

“His work is frequently exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the New English Art Club and he has been a finalist in the Hunting, Garrick Milne, Lyn Painter-Stainers and Singer and Friedlander Prize exhibitions.

“In 1998 he won the Sotheby's-sponsored Chichester Art Prize and in 2000 was commissioned to provide 12 paintings for the Sussex Book of Revelations, an Arts Council Millennium Project which toured Sussex libraries. In 2004 he completed a commission for the House of Lords.

“He has paintings in collections in Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Spain, Norway, Sweden and the US, as well as the UK. In late 2014 he held a major solo exhibition at Schloss Tiengen in Germany and another in the French city of Blois in 2017. These are both twinned with Lewes.”