“My landscape work is about how black bodies navigate through urban space. The lines that connect the structures represent how information enters the community and how information leaves the community. They can also represent who has access to the space and who does not.
Within these structures I use scale and size to show levels of hierarchy and class. I also use specific colours like shades of brown to represent black and brown bodies. When the structures are brown and black, I want them to be interpreted as black bodies, black ecosystems, black communities, black businesses, black families et cetera.The small rectangles, slants and X’s that are in the windows of the square shaped structures can be seen to mark how many people live/d in the household and who has and has not got access. The sidewalk or cement textured section represents memory or the disappearance of the physical identity. In this cement area I’m able to sequentially narrate a story about the landscape.
Whatever the structure is connected to represents information and connectivity. The section that its linked to is usually a form of prosperity or value. When nothing is connected to the structures it usually means there's no information passing through this system and it becomes isolated"
Jamaal Peterman, 2019
Peterman’s recent paintings visually break down layers of code and conduct which influence the ontology of African Americans living in urban environments. These flatly painted, synthesised urban landscapes use colour, symbols, geometry, and space as metaphors for the separation of class that is often reinforced and accentuated by commodities and wealth within these communities. To reference the inequality of resources given to lower-income families, Peterman uses modernist linear connections to link the structures and to indicate flows of information and human connection, passageways through the socio-political landscape in which a multitude of dialogues spread.
Peterman was brought up in Prince George County, Maryland, immersed in a culture of music, dance, and hustling. The narrative around his works is inspired by observations of social issues within and around this region, the richest black county in America with a strong history as a conduit of safe passage and freedom from segregation in the Jim Crow south. Through techniques used by post-war geometric artists, Peterman breaks down elements of social hierarchy within these synthetic spaces. His symbols are designed to mark time, history, and spaces within which Black bodies have navigated and constructed new forms of identity.
Born in Florida and raised in Maryland, Jamaal Peterman is a New York-based. He holds a BFA from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (2014) and an MFA from Pratt Institute (2019). He had his first solo exhibition at Artist Proof gallery in Washington DC, Georgetown (2018). He was awarded Smack Mellon’s 2019 Hot Pick, New American Painting 2019 MFA/South Issue and UICA juried Exhibition Finalist for Breaching the Margins exhibition (2019). He is a recipient of Mass MoCA residency and Wassaic Project residency and is represented exclusively by Vigo Gallery.