Peter Gynd is an artist who grew up amongst the coastal rainforests of western Canada and is known for his paintings that pull influence from his experiences in nature.
Peter studied old masters oil painting and classical sculpture at the Vancouver Academy of Art and as an apprentice to his mother, painter Ursula Medley, before pursuing a BFA in Glassblowing from the Alberta College of Art and Design (2006) and an MFA in Painting and Drawing from Brooklyn College in New York City (2022).
Peter worked mostly in glass from 2002–08 focusing on sculptural works and bespoke vessels. He was a member of the 2005 Poleturner’s Union at Pilchuck Glass School; was awarded numerous commissions and received the Emerging Artist Award from the BC Glass Art Association. Glassblowing taught Gynd much about colour, light, form, and working with other artists towards a unified artistic vision, and remains a large influence on his practice.
Peter’s focus returned to painting following a month-long camping trip to Hawaii in late 2008 where the islands told him to paint again. Upon returning home Gynd began on his series of Seascape paintings—a body of work that spanned seven years and several hundred works.
While in Vancouver Gynd was a member of the Dynamo Arts Association where he began curating and taught oil painting classes from his studio. Gynd has since taught painting workshops in Canada, Italy, the United States, and Mexico.
Concurrent to all this Gynd also worked in exterior highrise restoration, rappelling down skyscrapers in Vancouver's downtown. His specialty was in complex restoration to difficult rope-access areas, often more than 300 feet in the air.
At the insistence of his psychic, Peter Gynd relocated to New York City in early 2011 to further his art career. He set up a studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and began working for arts organizations including an internship at the Armory Show and curating the feature exhibitions for the Northside Arts Festival. Since then Gynd has curated numerous exhibitions at galleries, art fairs, and institutions, including a permanent exhibition at the Foundation Center, New York; an acclaimed two-person presentation at the SPRING/BREAK Art Show in 2015; and a 30,000 square foot immersive exhibition in Philadelphia in 2022.
From 2016-20 Gynd was the director at Lesley Heller Gallery, a respected Manhattan Lower East Side gallery, producing exhibitions by world renowned artists and up-and-coming stars. The gallery’s exhibitions were regularly featured in publications such as The New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, and Hyperallergic. He has been a guest critic at The Art Students League, Residencies Unlimited, Kunstraum, ChaNorth Artist Residency; a consultant with the New York Foundation for the Arts; guest lecturer at Pratt Institute and Long Island University Post; and guest juror for numerous exhibitions.
Peter’s work is held in private collections around the world and has been in exhibitions at the qathet Art Centre in Canada, the SPRING/BREAK Art Show in New York and Los Angeles; Ground Floor Gallery, NY; Equity Gallery, NY; 601 Artspace, NY; New Jersey City University and Village West Gallery, NJ; and featured in Hyperallergic, ArtSpiel, Artnet News, and ANTE.Mag.
Peter Gynd was a 2022 Graduate Teaching Fellow at the City University of New York's Brooklyn College. He is currently based between Canada and the United States.
Family History - Paul Binkert
Peter Gynd’s grandfather was the respected bronze sculptor, social/environmental activist, and mountaineer Paul Binkert.
Originally from the Black Forest region in south-western Germany, Paul was vocal against what was happening politically and socially in 1930s Germany and was turned in to the Nazi authorities and placed in forced labour. In 1935 he escaped to Switzerland, said goodbye to his fiancée, and bicycled across France to the English Channel.
The International Voluntary Service for Peace brought him to England where he worked for a year in exchange for his fare to immigrate to South Africa. At the end of the year though, South Africa had closed its borders to Germans and he was sent to Paraguay for another year to work on a communal farm with other refugees.
While in Paraguay Paul was offered a job in Bogotá fixing adding machines for the Monroe Calculating Machine Company and he sent for his fiancée to join him in Colombia. In 1949 the family, now with two children, had to flee Colombia because of La Violencia. They were denied immigration to the US and were also denied entry to Canada.
A colleague who worked for Monroe in Vancouver appealed directly to Mackenzie King and they were granted special permission to immigrate. In 1950 they arrived by freighter from Cartagena to Vancouver. The children had to learn to speak English and the whole family had to integrate into a new culture—one that did not necessarily want them there.
Paul went on to become a widely respected artist and member of the Vancouver community. His sculptures were exhibited with Bau-Xi Gallery in Vancouver and can be found in the permanent collections of the Vancouver Art Gallery and Kelowna Art Gallery along with numerous private collections in Canada and abroad. He is most widely known though for his contribution to trail building in South-Western British Columbia, including such trails as the Grouse Grind, the Stawamus Chief Trail, and the Lions Binkert Trail. He was part of the first Canadian ascent of Mt. Fairweather in 1958, helped to establish the BC Mountain Rescue Group, and was Honorary President of the BC Mountaineering Club until his death in 1995. There is now a mountain named after him near Whistler, BC: Mt. Binkert.