"We must begin thinking like a river if we are to leave a legacy of beauty and life for future generations." David Brower
The original oil paintings on linen by Peter Cameron shown here are now professionally reproduced as Giclee prints. New images will be available soon.
My paintings explore perceptions and feelings about being in the Australian landscape. I lay initial ideas of colour and loose textural form ‘en plein air’, experiencing the raw elements of a land viscerally. Further painting in the studio helps differentiate some of the land’s particular qualities, rhythms and elements. A painting might travel back and forth between the studio and a site a number of times, gathering responses to layers of questions about landscape and the nature of the place.
I continue to develop relationship with various locations: from the high country of the Snowy Mountains out to Lake George, Lake Mungo and Central Australia. Many of these areas have short, complex overlays of colonisation and industrialisation over an ancient past. But the timelines are there to be seen. Fast and slow geological movements affect the geography and many changes of flora and fauna are discernible. I see all the elements of a landscape containing and expressing life, each one continually affecting the others. And human lives have also been interacting with these lands for an inconceivable amount of time.
For me painting is more about being and relating with land rather than fashioning a description. I see the colours and forms as aspects and reflections of particular qualities in a particular landscape. Sometimes the overall phenomenon will appear as a unique entity, a collectively constructed space with its own integrity. I don’t see the land in specific terms but as an agglomeration of interacting elements – without a dominant or hierarchy.
Lately the anthropocentric changes wrought in parts of the landscape seem drastic. I see as problematic the approach to landscape which regards all inhuman matter as inert or dead. This approach makes it is easier for some to make exploitative decisions based on a rationalised denial of otherness.
I’ve been painting for more than 30 years and am largely self taught. I’ve exhibited regularly and my works have been collected publically and privately in Australia and overseas ( c.v. below). I mainly choose oil paints for their technical flexibility and their great capacity to develop colour and texture. I enjoy building the subtly nuanced forms that can suggest qualities of space. When painting I’m exploring a liminal situation in flux. The work is not an abstraction or a reduction into components.
Geometric design is formalised and integrated into all cultures. We are fascinated by patterning. What is it that interests us when we consider a circular or elliptical space? That which is inside or what is outside, included or excluded? And who defines whom? Perhaps when we’re looking inwards we are also looking outwards. Self amidst Community. Where is that singularity? When we consider ‘creation’, the ideas often appear spherical. As an essential figure it is infinitesimal and immense, and as a whole/hole it is perhaps naturally reflective of itself. The way we view space might give us an idea of how we privilege one form of substance over another.
I have a strong feeling for depicting vertical movement in the painting and people often ask me about this. Perhaps I’m referring to general energetics. Gravitational forces directly affect bodily forms of mass and the waters we know. We must align ourselves with the Sun and this is particularly so for planted vegetation and trees. So up and down naturally occurs. We adopt metaphors such as Heaven and Hell, light and darkness, the heights and depth of experience. If a line is individual, could a stream of them then be collective? And there is the phrase ‘as above, so below’. I like to see these ideas not so much as polarities but as descriptions of continuing forces, sometimes into their turning point, their enantiodromia, as Jung puts it. Both vertical and flat planes are useful theory-based constructions. But we know that in the flat desert plains you can see the curvature of the Earth, the same way you can at sea. There are many directly experienced and metaphorical dimensions of space and I’m exploring these all the time.
Gaps are all important. It’s all too human to paper over the gaps and assume a continuity. But it’s being within those inbetween, transitional spaces that gives us a possible clue to the nature of substances. There are certain but undefinable places: from one riverbank to the another for example, or the gap that is seen as the unknown space beyond the horizon. Sometimes it’s the halting and fading nature of uncertainty that implies the presence of a truth. A gap between the apparent and the actual, the habit and the habitat can offer an insight, and it may be elsewhere. Many disciplines of the sciences are profoundly interested to study the gaps and energies we don’t fathom.
Our usual experience of time changes in the inbetween spaces. Many people experience various layers, strands of time where several aspects coincide but don’t, being separate and simultaneous. And we can know the absence of time and what flows in its place. How it is dense and thin depending on the nature of the dream.
While I’ll often read images in terms of their references to the basic natural elements, the winds and rains, clouds and stars, I’ll also be respecting some of these elements as both internal and external.
Painting is essentially an act of mark making. The way an implement imparts paint onto a surface accords to those physical movements in the human frame. So a painting won’t just be understood visually as a painted surface, but also bodily, in recognition of the movements of its construction.
Land is an inescapable condition , a prime material of origin and destiny. If we don’t have preconceptions about what is, we can allow neglected senses to become emergent. Watching whilst listening is what most occupies my attention.
Welcome to the site: we are fortunate to be living with this porous and richly spirited, timeless land.
Peter Cameron 2015
Peter Cameron C.V.
|1992||Photography, Sculpture, East Sydney Tech.|
|1978||Drawing, Prahran College of Art, Melbourne|
|1977||Etching, Drawing, Ecole des Arts Decoratif, Nice, France
Etching, Atelier Giraudon, Nice
|1976||Industrial Design,C.A.E., Canberra|
|1975||Advanced Level Art, Bedales School, Hampshire, England
Etching, Stanley Hayter’s Atelier 17, Paris
Etching, Ecole des Arts Decoratif, Paris
|1962-73||Canberra Schools, Australia|
Awards and Prizes
|2013||Kedumba Drawing Award|
|2013||Whyalla Art Prize, finalist|
|2011||Whyalla Art Prize, finalist|
|2009||Hill End Artist in Residency program
Muswellbrook Art prize, finalist
|2008||Stanthorpe Art Prize, finalist
City of Albany Art Prize, finalist
Paddington Art Prize 2008, finalist
|2007||Prometheus Visual Art Award, finalist
Blake Prize, finalist
Calleen Acquisition Prize, finalist
|2006||Fleurieu Art Prize, South Australia, finalist
John Leslie Art Prize, Gippsland Art Gallery, finalist
|2005||Prometheus Visual Art Award, finalist
Muswellbrook Art Prize, finalist
Canberra Art Prize, finalist
Redlands Art Prize, finalist
|2004|| John Leslie Art Prize, Gippsland Art Gallery, finalist
Canberra Art Prize, finalist
Peter Norvill Art Prize, finalist
Touring Blake Prize, finalist
Paddington Art Prize, finalist
Fisher’s Ghost Art Award, finalist
|2012||rex-livingston art dealer, Sydney, The Off Track Series|
|2011||rex-livingston art dealer, Sydney, The Lake Mungo Series|
|2009||rex-livingston art dealer, Sydney, Hill End (residency) and Hampton Hill|
|2008||rex-livingston art dealer, Sydney, The Hampton Hill Series
Solander Gallery, ACT, Lake George and Guthega Paintings
|2007||rex-livingston art dealer, Sydney, Guthega Part 3|
|2006||rex-livingston art dealer, Sydney, Reflections from Guthega|
|2005||rex-livingston art dealer, Sydney, Guthega – Abstract Landscape Paintings
TAP gallery, Sydney
|2004||G.I.G. Gallery, Sydney|
|1995||Maude space, Sydney|
|1994||Mark Julian Gallery, Sydney|
|1993||Mark Julian Gallery, Sydney|
|1992||Mark Julian Gallery, Sydney|
|1991||Mark Julian Gallery, Sydney|
|1990||Mark Julian Gallery, Sydney
Stuart Gerstman Gallery, Melbourne
Selected Group Exhibitions
|2013||Spectrum Art Fair, Javits Centre North, New York, rex-livingston Projects|
|2013||Art Hamptons, Bridgehampton New York rex-livingston Projects|
|2011||Australia Korea 50 Year Friendship Exhibition, Seoul, Korea
Solander Survey 2011, Solander Gallery, Canberra
|2010||Five views of the Landscape, rex-livingston art dealer|
|2008||Art Sydney 08, rex-livingston art dealer, Stand F2|
|2008||Works on Paper and Selected Investment Paintings, rex-livingston art dealer|
|2007||Christmas Show 07, rex-livingston art dealer|
|2006||Christmas Salon Show, rex-livingston art dealer|
|2005||Two Fires Festival, Braidwood
Christmas Salon Show, rex-livingston art dealer
Art Sydney 05, rex-livingston art dealer stand S17, collectors pavilion
|1995||Pearl Beach Art Show|
|1994||Group Shows, Central Coast
Collector’s Choice, Von Bertouch Galleries
|1993||Collector’s Choice, Von Bertouch Galleries|
|1992||Group Shows, Central Coast|
|1991||Group Shows, Central Coast|
|1981||Gallery George, London|
|1980||Pastel Society, Mall Galleries, London
British Artists’ Show, London
Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, acquired 2008, Hampton Hill #7
St. Patrick’s Seminary, Lend Lease Sydney, NSW, acquired 2007, Guthega # 3 and Lake George # 13
Pangaea Resources, Sydney, acquired 2010, Hampton Hill 3 and Lake Mungo 1
Private collections, Australia and USA