Cleon Peterson Sheds Light on Society's Inner Cruelties with 'Shadow of Men' Exhibit


Los Angeles-based artist Cleon Peterson has created various intricate works in the past surrounding ideas of triumph, hedonism, and even the evil that lies within. Often depicting figures armed with weaponry and battling with those surrounding them, his characters come across as ruthless and violent yet hint at deeper meanings that are embedded within our sociopolitical history. In his newest exhibit dubbed Shadow of Men, Peterson is forcing his viewers to really give themselves an inner awakening and address the cruelties that we try so hard to cover up.


In light of the current tumultuous social and political climate seeping into most corners of the globe, these dark renderings of chaos and savagery tell a lot about confrontation and how to peer inwards to change what's without. "If we don’t confront the evils within ourselves, we’ll never be forced to take action against the evils in our world," Peterson explained to Juxtapoz. "I want to present things that are cognitively dissonant, ideas that make the viewer have to think critically about the ethical, moral, and historical roles we all play in the world." Get a glimpse of his brutal works below and catch "Shadow of Men" at Museum of Contemporary Art Denver starting February 2nd.

Words: Vanessa Feder
Artwork: Cleon Peterson