Peter Abrahams is a British visual artist. He lives in London and currently works primarily with photographic media. He has also worked extensively in the fields of painting, drawing and printmaking, producing substantial bodies of work in all areas.
Notable sequences of photographs are the Illuminations series, Vanitas, Forms of Value, Threshold, and The Active and Contemplative Life.
The Illuminations and Vanitas pictures are constructed in the studio and investigate the properties of common objects of little conventional value. These still-life materials are often sourced from charity shops or pound-stores so that their origins are either uncertain or they are the products of cheap, globalised labour.
The Active and Contemplative Life compositions are vertical diptychs or double images which pair workers, often in the financial district of the City of London, with the overlooked spaces and substances of the urban environment. They are meditations on the status of work, on the hierarchy of people and spaces, and on the different speeds of visual perception. Through the doubling of the imagery, new critical interpretations are made possible and in the words of the anthropologist Christopher Pinney, the "series is constructed on the visual presence in their lower registers of an underneath".
Forms of Value and Threshold continue, in single images, an analysis of the costumes and theatre of work in the public space, and the unseen architecture of the city.
Peter Abrahams studied painting at Camberwell School of Art 1979-81 and at the Royal Academy Schools 1981-84. In 1991, he completed a further post-graduate course in advanced printmaking at Central St Martins College of Art and Design.
From 1983 to 2000 he was a visiting lecturer in further and higher education, working across the disciplines of fine art, drawing, printmaking and the history of art. He taught at Central St Martins College of Art and Design, the University of Hertfordshire, University of Brighton, Kingston University, Morley College and North London College.