Sydney, 8 Nov 2022 — 27 Nov 2022

15 Roylston Street [PO Box 282], Paddington 2021

History Painting. Looking back to now.
- Peter Neilson

Composed of cryptic narrative fragments drawn from theatres of fact, constantly splintering in transition, these worlds of multiple perspectives, enigma and arrested moments are viewed from coincident fields of vision. Vertiginous gaps and dislocations disclose other realities beneath a benign, turbulent painterly surface; a doctrine of sin is at work below. The ‘action’ of Neilson’s characters, often drawn from earlier works, their repeated gestures and movement stilled, unresolved, are given new mise-en-scene and new historical referents in emerging works. A thriller: a game staged between these orphic assemblies and the imaginations of spectators, drawn in, submerged. Imagistic repetition evoking through attrition a radical new moment when everything could be different; no one moment can predict the next. – John Hughes

The engagement with historical time in a number of Peter Nielson’s most significant recent works has to be understood as an engagement that moves art’s relation to historical time – time as a topic within and as the work of art – beyond this limitation. An engagement with memory and traces of the past as inhabiting and effecting a determining hold on the present does not just have to occur, the activity that marks its occurrence in Neilson’s works, defines the work of art. – Andrew Benjamin, Monash University Emeritus Professor

 The mood in these recent paintings, at times, appears apocalyptic where nothing can be taken for granted and nothing is quite as it seems. There are endless arbitrary boundaries drawn with no go zones, code reds, with access denied and the truth redacted. Somewhere within this nightmare an individual has to weave his path where reality is something arbitrary and difficult to grasp. As Kafka warned, “How are we to avoid those in office becoming deeply corrupt when everything is devoid of meaning?”  Sasha Grishin, AM FAHA, ANU Emeritus Professor


Peter Neilson
Figurative narrative painter and draughtsman Peter Neilson was born in Melbourne and completed a Diploma …
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