Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Rhode Island enjoys a vibrant community of artists, but certain individuals stand out. At just twenty-seven years old, local artist Adolfo Peralta is an extremely talented painter with a unique skill for abstracted figuration. With a bright career ahead of him, he is an artist to know.
Peralta earned a BA in Digital Media and a BFA in Painting from Rhode Island College, where he graduated in 2019. Although he started by studying digital media, he quickly discovered a love for painting and worked diligently to complete a degree program in that area of study too. He earned the Rhode Island College Art Talent Award in 2017 and 2018 and exhibited his work at RIC as well as at CCRI and URI. He is currently a student in RISD’s Animation Certificate program.
In addition to painting and working with digital art while a student at RIC, Peralta also minored in art history and in doing so found an interest in Baroque artists like Rembrandt and Caravaggio, whose dramatic sensibilities for light and dark often show up in his paintings. In his studio, books about artists ranging from Cecily Brown to Michelangelo are arranged in between painting supplies, hinting at his inspirations.
Peralta is an excellent painter. His images focus on figurative subjects which are full of torsion, movement, and dynamism. In large scale works from his undergraduate career, vibrant reds set fleshy forms off from vast backdrops and enjoy a quality reminiscent of Francis Bacon. In a more recent series of smaller works, Peralta is exploring portraits in oil. Completed in a brushy and suggestive hand, the figures are then sanded down to create a multilayered and non-objective effect. In addition to oil paintings, he has also produced watercolors and intaglio prints that all have the same remarkable sensibility for the sinewy nature of the body and for the contours of the human form.
Asked what he hopes viewers experience when looking at his work, Peralta says, “It’s really hard to say, for right now at least. My work, at its core, has always been about love for the human form and movement. I believe that in figure painting there is always a psychological and emotional component embedded in the work, but in the end everything is open to interpretation. I would hope that viewers can get a sense of awareness of their own bodies and just feel alive, you know?”
Peralta is developing an active practice as a visual artist. Since the summer, he has had a studio of his own at Mad Dog Artist Studios in Pawtucket, and he is now a member of the current cohort of WaterFire’s Accelerate program, a professional development initiative for local artists under 30. He can be found working in his studio most evenings, and through his participation in Accelerate he currently has three artworks on view in a group exhibition at UNFI Cafe at 311 Iron Horse Way in Providence.
Asked about his participation in the WaterFire Accelerate program, Peralta says, “It is an honor to be part of this year’s WaterFire Cohort and I know that being here will open many doors for all of us in this. It’s also personal for me because it is the first time I feel that I am really stepping into this art scene and taking ownership of my work and who I am as an artist. The works I am currently exhibiting at UNFI have never seen the light outside my studio space. It’s a special moment for me to say the least.”
At the conclusion of the WaterFire Accelerate program in the summer of 2024, Peralta and his fellow young artists will participate in a group show at the WaterFire Arts Center. His work will likely appear in other local exhibitions in the near future as well.
Reflecting on his place as a young artist on the local scene, Peralta is ready to work hard to create opportunities for himself to share his story. He says, “Right now, I’m nobody in this art scene, and that is okay. I think I’ve found myself now at a crucial point where I need to just create at an intense pace. My goal is to build something for myself here in Rhode Island and then hopefully expand that to neighboring states and beyond.”
Peralta is one of the most promising young artists working in Rhode Island right now. He is a profoundly skilled painter who is energetically creating new works that are worthy of praise. Through his sensitive and wonderfully nuanced paintings, he is bringing a new voice to the genre and an exciting energy to the local scene. Adolfo Peralta is an artist to watch.
Follow Adolfo Peralta’s artwork on Instagram via @uh.dolfo
Michael Rose is a multi-talented fine art professional based in Southern New England. Since 2014 he has served as the gallery manager at the historic Providence Art Club, one of the nation’s oldest arts organizations. Through his current freelance work he advises collectors and artists, provides appraisal services, teaches, and completes curatorial projects.