Peter von Tiesenhausen’s reluctance to take on the parameters of any one medium sets this artist apart, he utilizes what is immediate to his art practice, frequently elements from the subject itself, so he can truthfully approach each work literally from the ground up. There are many works that are experimental or in the early stages of another avenue in his oeuvre as well as a substantial body of work that speaks of being a von Tiesenhausen.
Alberta artist Peter Von Tiesenhausen has a fierce connection to the land. That connection is present in all of his work, whether it’s in a painting, mixed media, an installation, or a sculpture made of willow branches, granite, bronze, or wood.
Born in British Columbia, Peter moved with his family to Demmitt, Alberta, outside of Grande Prairie, when he was young. He has a strong attachment to his family homestead and still lives there with his own family. Much of Peter’s art deals with transformation and transience. His deep involvement with the land is evident, he works with willow branches, ice and wood, there are installations high up in trees, in the middle of the bush, or in open fields. He lets nature take its course. Peter’s art production is non-traditional; he burns, carves and otherwise transforms environments into art spaces. Curator Virginia MacDonnell comments that “in a sense we’re looking at artwork where the subject itself changes and one’s interpretation of this work can change depending on when you view them.” His etchings and drawings are part of his The Watchers series, when he traveled the length and breadth of Canada with five larger than life-sized wooden figures. The process incorporated the figures within various landscapes of Canada, from west to east, north to south, he interacted, imposed, and documented their progress and impact.
The use of the traditional oil/canvas landscapes represents a return to an early phase in his oeuvre. Peter enjoys this return to the expressiveness of oil paint. He continues to move beyond the constraints of the format to explore other art practices in his search to evoke the power of the land. It’s about speaking a certain language and having each one of those paintings or those sculptures just be part of the continuing dialogue. I’ve found my language and now I’m speaking my language. Peter von Tiesenhausen