Inspired by elementary school bulletin boards, educational activity books, and crepe paper streamers, Peterson creates graphic portraits of an irrational world where happy characters are resolutely accepting of grotesque misfortune. The plague of absurdities presented in these paintings is rooted in popular culture as much as it is in old-hat surrealism. Issues of race, community, and social and economic upheaval are candy-colored and darkly comic. Smiling faces are unrelenting. Peterson never allows his people to be fazed. They never notice the nightmare. And it is here, within this pitiless deadpan that his work resonates.