Peter Gentenaar was born in the Netherlands, studied art there, in Italy (Accademia di Brera, Milano) and in the USA (California College of the Arts, California,) where he received his Master of Fine Arts degree. He and his wife, Pat Torley, have a 16th century farm with studio in the Netherlands where they started making paper in the early 1970’s.
In the summer of 2012, two enquires for large installations in new buildings came: the first commission was for the YAS Mall in Abu Dhabi and the other was for a 30 meter long bull fighters cape for the El Capo Restaurant in the Four Seasons hotel at the Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida, both due to open in 2014. Peter’s work now fills two of the glass domed courts in the Yas Mall, Pearl Court, the main entry, and Luxury Court.
Hand made paper is an ideal material for making large three-dimensional forms which at the same time seem light and airy. The paper making techniques Peter has developed over 40+ years, allow him to make forms never dreamt of or seen before.
His paper is thin, strong and reinforced with very thin ribs of bamboo. By beating unspun Belgian linen fibers for a long time, for the paper pulp, he sets into motion an extraordinary play of forces that occur during the drying process of his paper forms. The paper shrinks considerably, up to 40%, and the force of this puts the non-shrinking bamboo framework under stress. Compare it to a leaf when it dries in the autumn.
The pieces are light. The biggest, 3-meter high pieces, weigh ± 8 to 10 kilos. This allows them to be hung from a single line and with the help of a swivel turn in the air flow. Peter has exhibited extensively, from the USA to Japan, demonstrated his techniques, taught workshops and often made work on commission.
Together with Pat, he has organized the Holland Paper Biennial in the Rijswijk and Apeldoorn museums and published 10 books on international paper art and paper history. They are both on the International Board of Advisors for Hand Papermaking Magazine in the USA.