What we find when we go beyond the facture is an instability that is itself pleasurable to our perception. Such pleasure results from our apprehension of Peters' virtuosic coordination of conflicting elements—the "ingenious discontinuities" Kuspit identifies—but also from the incompleteness, the open-endedness, of the elements themselves. That is, the struggle between factors to assert themselves—a struggle in which, as observed, no one factor gains the upper hand (and which, like sports, is inherently exciting)—prevents any of those factors from becoming whole, much less dominant. Blended, even elusive colors comprise Peters' palette, offset by crucially introduced strokes of intensely contrasted primaries, blacks, or whites. His compositions are powerfully, but not always obviously, asymmetrical (sometimes pretending to the rudiments of modular repetition). Representational imagery normally appears only as broad, crude inflections. Such imagery—notably architectural fragments, implied interiors, and the more-than-occasional soupçon of a figure (albeit pared down nearly to its skeleton)—very often works with the gradations in the painted fields to construct a recessive space, almost to the point where we can identify foreground, midground and background. A lot goes on in any Peters painting, and we enjoy both the busyness and the pictorial logic that saves that busyness from entropic decay, from devolving into mere busyness.
In Peters' most recent paintings the imagery has attained a greater level of definition than previously—a development parallel to increased compositional poise and linear and coloristic contrast. Still, however more concrete the imagery has become, it remains fluid as opposed to fixed, coalescent as opposed to truly coherent. To borrow a term most recently employed with regard to stem cell research, we might call such imagery "pluripotential," still capable of evolving in any of several directions. In this pluripotentiality, and the accompanying avoidance of formal entropy, Peters' painting remains aesthetically late-modern as opposed to post-modern—in which case the imagery would be static, that is to say entropic, in their incompleteness—or high-modern—in which case the incompleteness would be a formal strategy averring a "complete" approach to imagery that posited an alternate to the 19th century verist model.
Peters' work is post-ideological, representing no particular extra-artistic credo; but its visual dialectics sustain a dynamism that begins formally and, in its sensuosity, takes on larger somatic resonance. The work reconsiders the gestural theatrics of abstract expressionism, concentrating them into a more civil discourse—that is, a discourse less about the passion of the individual ego and more about the hermeneutic (again, identified by Kuspit) Peters establishes between his own mind and hand, the painting that results, and the viewer's grasp of the artwork. In physically and mentally working and reworking his panels, Peters indulges his audience as much as he does his own eye; he seeks not simply to say something, but to say it with exacting calibration.
It is important to stress, again, that prime among the factors Peters calibrates is the open-endedness of his paintings. Having developed a post-abstract expressionist style dependent above all on his own trained—if you will, calibrated—intuition, Peters strives to preserve each painting's pluripotentiality. This is not a matter of simply leaving paintings "unfinished," but of thinking of paintings as inherently unfinishable. And it is not simply a matter of accepting Duchamp's dictum that "the viewer completes the work of art," but of setting out myriad possibilities for the viewer's engagement—without lapsing into didacticism or suggesting outcomes. Peters does not send us into free fall, but neither does he tell us where to fly. Indeed, he only provides us hints at how.
Peters' work has an organicism to it, a "messy order" that mirrors nature's eternal experimentation. If this doesn't work, goes this modus operandi, let's try that. If this idea comes a cropper, recycle it and see what about it does prove promising. If this path proves a dead end, backtrack and take, or forge, another path. Darwin's glorious mechanism of life, ever open to mistakes and corrections, interruptions and variations, ruptures and slippages, here manifests in microcosm. In their pluripotentiality, Sammy Peters' paintings do not simply depict nature; they are natural.