10 Questions: Artist Peter Ngo at Outeast Gallery in Montauk

Painting by Peter Ngo
Painting by Peter Ngo

Over the last two years or so, Peter Ngo has been building a significant body of photography work, mostly depicting beautiful, edgy and often scantily clad women, but the East Hampton artist has returned to painting for On an Eastern Shore, a two-person show at Outeast Gallery & Goods in Montauk. The exhibition, also featuring photographs by Ingrid Liot, is Outeast’s first of the season.

Like his photographs—which have earned Ngo a burgeoning Instagram following (@anchorpete)—beautiful sirens and seductive models feature heavily in this latest series of oils. While the subjects within them are painted in a mostly realistic representational style, the paintings carry a surreal quality, mixing the women with mythological beasts, nature and various sea creatures, as well as the sea itself, against moody yet colorful skies.

Ngo worked tirelessly, day and night to complete the pieces for On an Eastern Shore, on view through April 27, and he says he’ll be taking a much-needed break from painting in order to return to his place behind the camera. Fans of Ngo’s oils should make sure to visit Outeast this month. As the artist shifts his focus back to photography, there’s no telling how long it will be until we see such a large collection of new paintings from him.

Peter Ngo at the Parrish Art Museum
Peter Ngo at the Parrish Art Museum, Photo: Oliver Peterson

Though he typically allows his work to speak for itself, Ngo briefly answered 10 questions about the show:

1. You have been really focused on photography of late. How did this show of paintings come about? 
I have been shooting quite a bit. Scott Pitches [of Outeast Gallery] asked if I wanted to have a show for the opening season and I obliged.

2. If you had to identify a thread or a theme that ties all these works in the show together, what would it be?
The show is called On an Eastern Shore

3. Aside from the obvious—the reason all men love beautiful women—what drives you to capturing images of beautiful women?
There’s a mystery and an allure about women. How they can seduce or make anything elegant like a darkening sky. I try to capture that glimpse that wasn’t meant to be caught.

4. What are you looking to see, show or discover in your exploration of your subjects?
Moody landscapes with a delicate calmness.

5. Does painting inform that exploration more or differently than photography? Or is it simply two ways of arriving at a similar result?
It’s pretty similar in both mediums.

6. The paintings have a surreal element to them. Where do you find your inspiration?
There’s inspiration everywhere and not enough time to capture it all.

7. How did the exhibition come off?
Even with heavy rains [at the March 29 opening] there was an exceptional turnout, very thankful.

8. You’ve shown at Outeast before—what do you like about this gallery?
It’s off the beaten path, like my work.

9. How do  your paintings interact with Ingrid Liot’s work in the show?
My paintings shown with Ingrid Liot’s photos work well together because all are related to water.

10.What’s next for you?
Continue to paint, work on a new photo series and coffee table book.

On an Eastern Shore is on view at Outeast Gallery & Goods (65 Tuthill Road) in Montauk through April 27. Call 631-668-2376 or visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/outeastmtk.

Painting by Peter Ngo
Painting by Peter Ngo
Painting by Peter Ngo
Painting by Peter Ngo