Peter Oakley creates fool-the-eye sculptures of everyday items with surprising, unusual materials: luxurious marbles and semiprecious stones. He likes to use marble— the substance of ancient Greek sculpture or works by Renaissance masters— because of the associations it evokes. A work of marble is timeless, pure, and possibly antiquated.
But such associations are confounded by what Oakley chooses to sculpt in such a durable medium. His common subjects are not permanent elements of daily life but transient. Styrofoam takeout containers, for example, are objects typically disposed of in the trash. Their short lives are followed by a long afterlife as garbage. By reimagining them in marble, Oakley makes an impermanent item permanent, creating a monument to the discarded.
tags: NC art, NC artist, North Carolina, contemporary sculpture