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Peter Karp


I am German, but have spent most of my adult life abroad. I have lived and worked in Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, New York and –since 1982- Washington DC where I studied drawing, painting and collage at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. Art is my second career, after 35 years in international human resources and organizational development, including Vice President Human Resources at JP Morgan Chase and Director Personnel Management at the World Bank. I began to exhibit work in 2005, a listing of exhibits is attached.

My work is in private collections in the US and Germany examples of my work can be reviewed at:

Artsist Statement

My work blends figurative and abstract elements, in two- and three-dimensional form, often combined with found objects. I use a wide range of media, including pencil and charcoal drawing, metallic and acrylic paint, photography, collage and assemblage.

I am interested in creating visual paradoxes and surprises, not as ends in themselves, but to expose the ambiguity of what we perceive as real, objective and true. Not coincidentally, my favorite color is grey and I never tire of exploring the many shades it comes in.

I enjoy making art from ordinary things and materials, and animating them through light and shadow. In my assemblage work, I attempt to create an interactive viewing experience, through the use of mirrors and kinetic elements, combined with photographs and found objects.

My objective is to create images that engage the imagination and invite speculation. I want viewers to inject their own thoughts and feelings into the work, rather than passively register what's there.

My influences include film and theatre, the artistry of the Dada masters (Kurt Schwitters), the Bauhaus period (Laszlo Moholy-Nagy) and photography (Aaron Siskind and William Eggleston). And,  of course, Joseph Cornell. When asked about my creative process, I refer to it as systematic coincidence. It is the visual equivalent of what Andre Breton, the intellectual leader of Surrealism, called ecriture automatique.  Trying to make art is a paradoxical undertaking to me, and more often than not I am the one who is most surprised by the outcome.