Peter Glenn Oakley
Lives and works in Banner Elk, NC
(b. 1974, American)
“You get to a point looking at one of these objects where your eye is tracing along all these curves—you forget what it is that you’re looking at. Suddenly you are immersed in this visual experience. It’s important to me that the piece is conceptually tight, but I want it to be a fun visual thing.”
I am a stone sculptor. I carve realistic life-size sculptures that reference industrial objects, mostly in black marble and white marble. I work by hand with natural materials using simple tools.
I select my subjects from our recent industrial past: sewing machines, typewriters, Styrofoam, engines, cassette tapes, guns, etc. Marble is a perfect medium for this subject matter, because over most of its long history, marble sculpture has been employed to depict the forms of gods and goddesses, ideal forms, images of the powerful, the mythical, and above all, the beautiful. While there is humor in my work, the humor serves to lead into some very serious lines of thought. Technology rules our lives just like the pantheons ruled the lives of our ancestors. Technology grants us all the same favors and can be as inexplicably capricious as any god or goddess.
One of the main things that attracts me to stone sculpture is the longevity of the work. Even though I feel my work is very relevant to my time, I love the idea that stone sculptures can last hundreds and even thousands of years. As time passes the work is viewed through the new eyes of successive generations, and new layers of meaning and irony may coalesce around the work. Yet the sculptures remain unchanged, and hold their own as windows through which future generations can observe the complexity of our experience in our time.
In keeping with this long view, I feel it is essential for me to create sculptures that are on par with the marble sculpture of the past, both in terms of scale and craft. I want to live up to the standards of craft of Bernini or Thorwaldsen while pushing the conceptual thresholds that are emerging today.
- Peter Glenn Oakley is from the mountains of North Carolina and graduated from Appalachian State University and developed his skills working as a stonemason before turning to sculpture.
- He has exhibited at Crystal Bridges Museum, North Carolina Museum of Art, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, and Telfair Museums, among others.
- His works are held in private collections and museums throughout the United States.
- Oakley is a North Carolina Artist Fellow.
PRESS + MEDIA
State of the Art: Peter Glenn Oakley
Chisel and Forge: Works by Peter Oakley and Elizabeth Brim
Peter Glenn Oakley does the art world a solid
Peter Glenn Oakley – Artist and Stone Carver from North Carolina
[Video; Sculpting Stone]