"The Eight Portland Art Shows I’m Most Glad I Saw in 2016" from the Willamette Weekly, 29 December 2016
Peter Brown Leighton at Blue Sky
(Man Lives Through Plutonium Blast, April)
I had to walk through this exhibition twice, and then I had to ask someone who worked at the gallery to explain to me what was going on before I could get my head around it. Photographer Peter Brown Leighton digitally combined images from vintage photographs to create each of his deeply disturbing and hilarious compositions. Some manipulations were quite subtle, requiring multiple viewings to ascertain where Leighton had left his fingerprints, like the image of a 50s-era husband with identical twin sisters perched on the arms of his chair. Were they really two people? Was it the same woman repeated? Others left no doubt about what had been changed or about Leighton's knack for creating disquieting, post-apocalyptic tableaus that could leave a permanent crack in your perception, like a smiling man gleefully being struck by lightning; a young boy, in his Sunday best, levitating off the church's altar; or a mushroom cloud in the middle of a city.