Small Craters: The Art of David Allen Peters

An abstract painting made by scraping away layers of acrylic paintUntitled #4, acrylic paint on panel

David Allen Peters is an artist based in Los Angeles, California. In his practice, Peters is a painter, though his technique is one that often seems more akin to sculpture. The artist produces his paintings by layering paint onto a surface and then gouging out small craters to reveal the coloured layers below.

A painting with numerous small marks in layers of dried acrylic paintUntitled #9, acrylic paint on panel

I’m fascinated by the way that Peters’ process can be divided into two distinct stages -- the layering, or addition of the paint, and the subsequent removal. It’s as if Peters is a sculptor who not only carves figures out of an abstracted mass, but creates that mass in the first place, exhibiting a great deal of control over his medium. 


The resulting works complex abstract compositions on imposing, monolithic canvases -- what first may appear to be a repeating, firework-esque pattern turns out to be something even more interesting, like thousands of tiny Holton Rower artworks collected on a single picture plane.

A painting with two planes of highly textured colourUntitled #1, acrylic on panel

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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