The Old Print Shop

Peter Milton

b. 1930

Peter Milton was born in Pennsylvania in 1930.  He studied for two years at the Virginia Military Institute and completed his BFA in 1954 at Yale University under Josef Albers and Gabor Peterdi.  Milton continued his studies at Yale and in 1961 received his MFA.  From 1961-1968 Milton lived in Baltimore where he taught at the Maryland Institute College of Art.  It was during this period when Peter Milton took an avid interest in printmaking.  He had his first solo show in 1963 and quickly started winning awards internationally. Over the course of fifty years, Milton has created intricate visual worlds in more than 130 prints, many of which took over a year to make.  

“Working in layers, Milton begins with drawings based on people and places, with nods to Western art history and culture.  He is a master of the appropriated image, a term that may conjure Andy Warhol and his Pop Art comrades.  But Milton steps further back in history, avoiding the Pop sense of cool advertising and popular culture references.  Instead , a broader cultural past is tapped through historical photographs of key players, architecture, and locales, which he reinvents by hand.  He adds content drawn from his life as an avid reader – always with multiple possible interpretations – thus incorporating deeper meaning in his cinematic worlds.  Elements of Greek mythology, classical music, art history, and history coalesce in his images, which embrace the messiness, sorrow, and elation that is life.  One is hard-pressed to imagine a more erudite, skilled, passionate, and cheeky soul.  

In addition to a storied career in printmaking, since 2007 Milton has fearlessly produced artwork digitally.  He now creates images using Adobe Photoshop in files consisting of more than two thousand layers, which are printed both as digital prints on paper and, for display on Led lightboxes, on translucent, white-coated film called Duratrans.  These intricate pictures are the logical next step; they carry his method of layered visual elements in etching forward to the digital realm.  He continues to explore and always looks to the next thing: ‘I feel it is the trajectory of a never-ending adventure.’” – T. L. Johnson and A. Shafer

Peter Milton has work in over 200 collections including; the Museum of Modern Art, NY;  Metropolitan Museum of Art,  NY; Brooklyn Museum, NY;  Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, MA;, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

"I suppose what I am really working toward is a four-dimensional articulation—where images juggle with the time continuum as part of the enigma. Narrative is only incidental to my imagery, which I recognize more and more often comes looking for me when I am out looking for something else. The generation of a coherent thematic structure very often begins—with a series of sheer coincidences. Though my prints may appear carefully thought out and controlled, they are in fact also examples of a sort of esthetic chaos theory—the seemingly orderly organization of actually random elements. I share in the contemporary fascination with randomness—and in an almost mystical feeling that the very lack of pattern is a pattern in itself."