This exhibition is in some respects based on an epiphany experienced by Sydney artist Peter Kingston (born 1943) following the death of his close friend and Lavender Bay neighbour Brett Whiteley in 1992. It seemed that at last Kingston was released from an enormous shadow of talent, skill and success of his mentor to embark with his own sense of poetic language conveying an abiding passion for a subject he had had grown up with from childhood: Sydney Harbour.
Versatile and multi-talented in his own right, with a natural ability for drawing, Kingston was inspired from an early age by films and comics to create quirky cartoons and illustrations, later contributing to university magazines and eventually the infamous Oz magazine of the 1960s, becoming part of Martin Sharp’s Yellow House collective in Potts Point, where he would also experiment with film-making.
But it was after he moved into and purchased the house next door to Whiteley, within view of another of his Sydney icons Luna Park, Kingston would go on to create some of his most impressive works. These are the revelatory crux of this exhibition, draughtsman and painter recording a natural, spectacular synergy between nature and civilisation. Through the great fluid energy and character of the Emerald City, its changing moods, the perpetual ebb and flow of ferries, Kingston has frequently featured its iconic Opera House, an epicentre of grand spaces of surrounding waterways framed by skylines of human activity. Night or day, he has responded to its evanescent beauty through his pictorial symphonies:
I have seen countless nights watching the moon reflect upon the water and the shadow of this great building creating colours and unique impressions each passing day.
A small group of display cases will include selections of Kingston’s artist books, prints, sketchbooks and memorabilia, and a wunderkabinet containing nostalgic relics of his earlier incarnation as pop-illustrator-satirist, precursor to the main body of post-1990 celebrations of his most beloved subject.
Curated by Barry Pearce, Emeritus Curator of Australian Art, AGNSW.
New monograph published by The Beagle Press – Peter Kingston: Paintings and Drawings available at the gallery for $120.
About the artist
Celebrated Australian landscape painter, Peter Kingston, received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales in 1965 and tutored in architecture at the University of Sydney. He has held over 35 solo exhibitions since 1978 in Sydney and New York. A survey exhibition of his work titled ‘Habourlights’ was toured by the Manly Regional Gallery in 2004, and coincided with the release of his first monograph. Kingston has been included in numerous group exhibitions including the Dobell Drawing Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales between 1993 and 2000, the Wynne Prize between 1995 and 2003, and the Sulman Prize between 1998 and 2001. In 2019, he was a part of a significant exhibition titled ‘Bohemian Harbour: Artists of Lavender Bay’ alongside the work of fellow artist and friend Brett Whiteley at the Museum of Sydney.
Exhibiting with Australian Galleries since 1993, Peter Kingston is highly celebrated for his sensitive and evocative works portraying a lifelong connection to Sydney Harbour and deep rooted desire to preserve its character and charm. Kingston conveys with great reverence life on and around the water, from the iconic old ferries and the moon rising over the majestic Sydney Opera House to the endless colours, tones and textures observed throughout the changing seasons.
Kingston’s work is held in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; the State Library of New South Wales, Sydney; the Museum of Sydney, several regional galleries and internationally by the Biblioteque de la ville, Belgium; Costen Library, Los Angeles and the National Film Library in Tokyo. In 2019, The Beagle Press published the artist’s second monograph titled ‘Peter Kingston’, written by Barry Pearce.
To view available drawings, etchings and paintings by Peter Kingston, view the gallery stockroom online or contact firstname.lastname@example.org