The Nature Drawings of Peter Karklins

The Nature Drawings of Peter Karklins
Ed. Sean D. Kirkland

University of Chicago Press/Distributed for DePaul Art Museum

64 pages | 1 color plate, 31 halftones | 8 x 10 3/4

This exhibition catalogue presents a series of fascinating and challenging “nature drawings” by the Latvian, German-born, Chicago-based artist, Peter Karklins, drawings that are on display from July to November of 2012 at the DePaul University Art Museum in Chicago.

The book may well interest APS members for two reasons. On the one hand, the artist understands himself to present nature in a mode wholly at odds with the modern, scientific, technologically mastered conception thereof, even as he finds a profound resonance in the early Greeks’ experience of their world. On the other hand, a number of the mini-essays in the collection are contributed by long-time APS members, David Farrell Krell, Michael Naas, and William McNeill, and the volume is edited by Sean D. Kirkland, former APS co-director. The Nature Drawings of Peter Karklins is available through Amazon or the University of Chicago Press website.

“Peter Karklins once referred to his work as “Presocratic Realism,” a provocative title that suggests reality is found in the world before the time of systematic rationality, and, indeed, his images transport us to just such a place. His miniature works offer visions of another world in which the very fabric of the real is a strange hybrid of the biomorphic and the mechanically regularized, the sexual and the sterile, a world that holds itself uncomfortably between objectivity and fantasy, between objects we consciously observe and desires we unconsciously enact. Drawing primarily upon the insights of contemporary Continental philosophy, seventeen contributors from a variety of disciplines offer short, engaging responses that use the works to introduce powerful, contemporary reflections on the nature of art, of humanity, and of freedom.”

John Russon, Department of Philosophy, University of Guelph


“This is that rare, much to be coveted, invitation to the sort of event one only wishes happened more often. Gathered here are scholars of different fields all set in concerted focus on the marvelously strange miniature drawings of Peter Karklins. The creative dialogue that develops between these thinkers and the works in this volume stands as a testament to the value of bypassing the boundaries usually adhered to by the mainstream art industry, suggesting that the most refreshing engagements in art may happen well beyond them.”

Annika Marie, Department of Art and Design, Columbia College