Before and After Paradise: The Art of Peter Loose
–Paradise Garden Foundation is pleased to announce a new exhibit, Before and After Paradise: The Art of Peter Loose, on view in the Museum and Visitor Center through October 30th, 2023. The Foundation is excited to present Peter Loose’s artwork due to the artist’s close relationship with Rev. Howard Finster, a friendship that began in Loose’s early 20s during visits to Paradise Garden from Athens, GA. Loose has also been a long-time participant in the Foundation’s annual art festival, Finster Fest. In his artist statement for the exhibit, Loose writes, “I was blessed to call Howard a friend and mentor. Before I met him, I was making art but after I met him, I found confidence. On my first visits to Paradise he said that, ‘If I worked hard, one day I would have a million dollars' -- his funny way of saying that my work would have many fans.” The paintings in the exhibit, Loose says, “represent my fascination with the wild things that make the Garden their home.” The namesake painting, “Before and After Paradise,” illustrates the wildlife Loose dreamt about living in the Garden in the years before Finster refashioned what was once swampland into the historic 4-acre art environment it is today. In another painting titled “They Gather Around Him,” a large white crane stands in the center of a circle of smaller blackbirds. Loose explains that the white bird represents Finster, and how he inspired visitors to flock around him while he painted and preached. r Visitors can get a sense of Finster’s influence on Loose by viewing Howard Finster Before He Painted: Wood Creations from the 50s to 70s, the exhibit directly across from Before and After Paradise. The two exhibits clearly illustrate how the two artists share the love of repetitious markmaking and the use of wood for creative cutouts and features. At this year’s Finster Fest, coming to Paradise Garden on September 23rd-24th, Peter Loose will give an Artist Talk about the exhibit and his inspiration for the work. Loose’s talk will take place at 2:30 pm on Saturday, September 23rd.