Sammy Peters has exhibited extensively around the United States and overseas. His work is included in numerous collections around the world including the Arkansas Arts Center, the McDonalds Corporation in London, England, The Venetian Resort Hotel in Macao, China, the estate of Winthrop Rockefeller and the private collection of actor Gene Hackman.

Sammy Peters: “Then & Now” at the Memphis College of Art will feature a combination of Peters’ large-scale abstract paintings and smaller works, completed in years spanning from 1963 to 2016. The paintings are a union of color, texture and space. Peters describes his work as a living dichotomy, straddling the line between ambiguity and rhythm. “My paintings have an intrinsic tempo within them that may not be obvious at first glance. I begin to sense the rhythm of the painting early in the work, and often that sense of rhythm asserts itself in devices like ladder shapes or stripes or polka dots or various marks,” said Peters. “The rhythm of the painting perpetuates itself and reasserts itself as I paint, and I just go along for the ride.”

Peters’ work is described as beautifully complex—avoiding traditional parameters in a time when society needs “tidily labeled” art—in an essay by international art writer and critic Peter Frank (Sammy Peters: Painting Unbound, 2016). “Peters’ approach to painting straddles the material and the pictorial, delights in sensuous skin and color relationships at once dissonant and delicious, and combines the decorative and the narrative without telling stories or striving for retinal gratification. Such painting evades classification with a chameleon’s elusiveness, implicitly taunting those who would try to entrap it.”

MCA Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs Remy Miller says Peters’ return to MCA, after exhibiting at the college as a Visiting Artist several times in the early 1990s, offers a rare opportunity for students and the Memphis community to see how the artist’s work has changed and developed over time. “Though his national and international exhibition record is long and impressive, it is characteristic of this modest painter to hold close to his roots,” said Miller. “He demonstrates that despite art world clichés, ambitious art of the highest quality is often produced outside the major art centers of the world.”

Peters was raised in Little Rock, Arkansas after his family moved there from Shreveport, Louisiana in 1945. He eventually studied art history and design at the University of Arkansas Little Rock and the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Peters currently maintains a full-time studio practice in Little Rock, Ark.


Selected Solo Exhibitions / Since 2000

LewAllen Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM 2017
Memphis College of Art
Sammy Peters: Then and Now Survey Exhibition, Memphis, TN, August-September 2016
University of Arkansas-Fort Smith
Sammy Peters: Then and Now Survey Exhibition, Fort Smith, AR, April-June 2016
LewAllen Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM 2015
Arkansas Tech University, Russellville, AR 2014
LewAllen Contemporary, Scottsdale, AZ 2013
LewAllen Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM 2013
Alan Avery Art Company, Atlanta, GA 2013
LewAllen Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM 2011
Alan Avery Art Company, Atlanta, GA 2009
LewAllen Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM 2009
The Heights Gallery, Little Rock, AR, 2008
Bentley Projects, Phoenix, AZ, 2008
LewAllen Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM 2007
Bentley Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ, 2005
LewAllen Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM, 2005
Craighead/Green Gallery, Dallas, TX Dec. 2004
Contemporanea, Hot Springs, AR, 2004
Hendrix College, Conway, AR 2003
New Gallery, Houston, TX, 2002
LewAllen Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM, 2003
Perry Nicole Gallery, Memphis, TN, 2002

Selected Group Exhibitions / Since 2000

Mason Fine Art, Atlanta, GA, 2016
Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Little Rock, AR, 2015
Jay Etkin Gallery, Memphis, Tennessee 2014
Greg Thompson Fine Art, Little Rock, Arkansas 2014
The Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR, 2014
Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas 2014
Winthrop Rockefeller Legacy Exhibition, Morrilton, AR 2011
Stremmel Gallery, Reno, NV, 2010
Alan Avery Art Company, Atlanta, GA 2010
Kouros Gallery, New York, NY, 2009
Multiple Impressions, New York, NY, 2007
Historic Arkansas Museum, Little Rock, AR, 2007
Gail Harvey Gallery, Santa Monica, CA, 2006
Bentley Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ, 2005
Stephen F. Austin University, Nacogdoches, TX, 2005
LewAllen Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM, 2003
Contemporanea, Hot Springs, AR, 2002
Perry Nicole Gallery, Memphis, TN, 2002
The Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR, 2000

Awards & Fellowships

2003 VSC Press Printmaking Fellowship
2001 Vermont Studio Center Fellowship
2000 MacDowell Fellowship
1992 M-AAA/NEA Fellowship
1967 Juror's Award, 10th Delta Annual
1965 Juror's Top Award, 10th Annual Mid-South Exhibition
1965 Juror's Special Mention Award, 6th Dixie Annual

Selected Collections

The Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR
Arkansas Technical College, Russellville, AR
Atkins Insurance Corporation, Little Rock, AR
Baptist Rehabilitation Institute, Little Rock, AR
Brooks-Pollard Advertising, Little Rock, AR
The Communications Group, Little Rock, AR
The Entergy Corporation, Jackson, MS
First Commercial Bank, Little Rock, AR
Gene Hackman, Santa Fe, NM
Hendrix College, Conway, AR
Palazzo Resort Hotel, Las Vegas, NV
Hot Springs Fine Arts Center, Hot Springs, AR
McDonalds, London, England
Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, Little Rock, AR
Estate of Winthrop Rockefeller, Petit Jean, AR
The Rose Firm, Little Rock, AR
The Venetian Resort Hotel, Macao, China
Saks Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
Southland Corporation, Dallas, TX
Stephens Incorporated, Little Rock, AR
Twin City Printing, North Little Rock, AR
University of Arkansas Medical Center, Little Rock, AR
Bank of America, Little Rock, AR
Arthur Young & Company, Little Rock, AR
JPMS Cox PLLC, Little Rock, AR


Sammy Peters: Then and Now
at Memphis College of Art. Essay by Peter Frank, 30 color plates

Sammy Peters: Then and Now
at University of Arkansas / Fort Smith. Essay by Peter Frank, 28 color plates

Disparate Acts Redux: Bailin, Criswell, Peters
Introduction by Leslie N. Peacock, essay by Warren Criswell, 13 color plates

Silent Metronome,
Works from 2006-2007
Sammy Peters interviewed by Ruth
Pasquine, Ph.D., 18 color plates

Sammy Peters/ Portals and Intentions,
LewAllen Contemporary, solo exhibit, essay by Peter Frank, 22 color plates

Sammy Peters/ Paintings on Paper and Canvas,
The Arkansas Arts Center, solo exhibit, essay by Donald Kuspit, introduction by Townsend Wolfe and Ruth Pasquine. 16 color plates

Baser Matter, Traveling Exhibition, 14 color plates, Essays by John S. Slorp and Lloyd W. Benjamin

Dated Works, Traveling Exhibition, 10 color plates, Essay by Michael Preble


University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Little Rock, AR
Arkansas Arts Center School of Arts and Drama, Little Rock, AR
San Francisco Mime Troupe, San Francisco, CA

Workshops/Visiting Artist:

Stephen F. Austin University, Nacogdoches, TX, 1994
Memphis College of Art, 1989, 1991
Arkansas Arts Center, 1986, 1988, 1990
University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 1988, 1990