march, 2020

07mar(mar 7)5:00 pm29(mar 29)4:00 pmJumping the SharkNew Work by Peter S Wise5:00 pm - 4:00 pm (29) Gallery 3Event Type :Exhibition

Event Details

Jumping the Shark – New work by Peter S Wise
Adventures in entropy and other dark matters

Gallery 3

Opening Reception: Saturday March 7, 5-8 pm
Gallery Hours: Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm
Closing Reception: Sunday March 29, 1-4 pm


Some but not all of the works presented here are connected to the theme of “Jumping the Shark.” Hopefully, the viewer will make his or her own determination as to which are and which aren’t. The phrase itself has jumped the shark and become a parody of itself, originally coined to depict the later seasons of the sitcom,”Happy Days” as over the hill, tired, lacking surprise and so on. However, the phrase has stuck with me and many of the images reflect an expanded and readily understandable view of the inevitable deterioration of matter, cultures, relationships, beliefs, logic and really everything else in the known universe. The physical basis for jumping the shark is the second law of thermodynamics, or simply that in the absence of absorbing energy, all things tend to entropy. It’s pretty easy for us to understand but rather more difficult to accept, especially when personally applied to our bodies (aging and eventual death)and mental state (dementia and Alzheimer’s disease being common examples.) But we are not alone and this work seeks to universalize the drift towards entropy of all things and ideas, and not without humor.

Scientists discuss whether our known universe has reached a point when its expansion will end and start contracting to the point it was at 14 billion years ago. Historians debate whether civilizations conform to an inescapable pattern of the proverbial rise and fall paradigm. Marxism declares capitalism is doomed to failure as it careens from one financial crisis to the next and economic inequalities increase. These are all examples of jumping the shark and we can look to less cosmic examples as well – the breakdown of logic in human dreams, the stresses endured by the Donner party in the 1840s that led to cannibalism, or oppositely the chaotic humor of Benny Hill. So, these images may be a celebration of universal law or a lamentation but they do attempt to encourage acceptance of immutable phenomena in which we as human beings have no choice but to comply.

The title piece, “Jumping the Shark,” is based on a Bill Brandt photograph from the early 60s taken in London on the Embankment where one finds the Tate Gallery. Obviously the added shark fin and Dalek from, the British sci-fi series “Dr. Who,” is of my own doing and can be read as a comment on pop culture and its exhaustion or any other way a viewer wants to read it. The practice of enhancing original work like Brandt’s is a hallmark of postmodernism, which in itself declares originality is dead and yes, has jumped the shark. The image itself is self-referential and a closed circuit so to speak wherein movement, the decisive characteristic of life at at least a molecular level, is an endless loop – in other words, dead. I find this humorous to the extent that Karl Marx called history the first time around, “tragic” but the second time around “farce.” I hope people seeing these can maintain some sense of levity as they really are, at one level, just representations of the human condition.

The oil paintings here are not intentionally connected to the themes of the photomontages. Truthfully, I include them because they are a departure from non-traditional means of visual expression and I hope, that conventional painting has a much longer cultural shelf life than the disposable photomontages they accompany. While the montages tend to irony, my paintings of people I like are not ironic in any way to my way of thinking and hopefully balance the former.


7 (Saturday) 5:00 pm - 29 (Sunday) 4:00 pm


Gallery 3

38 Harlow Street