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‘Scalpelicious’ – The Collage Art Of Peter Lewis

‘Scalpelicious’ – The Collage Art Of Peter Lewis

When – 31st August – 17th September

Where – ROAR! gallery, 55 Abel Smith St, above Real Groovy

Opening – Thursday 31st August ALL WELCOME

Peter Lewis has been wielding a scalpel with warped intent since the early 1990s.

Elevating the cute to unnatural and unhealthy levels, juxtaposing with gentle malice and arranging the result into weird and wonderful mandalas, Peter creates little self-contained worlds full of hidden detail and visual one-liners. His work is a Kiwi version of surrealism with images of Dunedin’s Octagon juxtaposed with the iconic Four Square man. This is a world which is part now, part age old and part simply surreal fun and games with all that he can find to add into the mix.

He is influenced and inspired by collage artists such as Max Ernst, Hannah Hoch and Winston Smith, and "Low Brow" painters like Mark Ryden, Robert Williams and Todd Schorr.

Peter’s art has often been compared with sample-based electronic music, liberally borrowing from pop culture and modern history to create something new from the detritus of the past. In keeping with this connection, Lewis is also a music maker, cutting and pasting samples together to make his own original music which he will be performing live at the opening of ‘Scalpelicious’.

We live in a world so saturated with imagery of all sorts that our brains have evolved mechanisms for instantly assessing and sorting the maelstrom of images we are bombarded with every day of our lives. In seeking to make sense of it all, Peter trawls through the imagery of popular culture from the past 50 years, assembling disparate elements to create works that might appear to be nonsense at first glance, but actually have their own strange kind of logic.

“Making good use of the things that we find,
Things that the everyday folks leave behind.”

Wombling Free, Mike Batt, 1978

Peter intentionally uses nostalgic images and pictures taken from old children's books, not only because they appeal to his keen sense of personal nostalgia and revisiting the obsessions of his childhood (robots, monsters, rocket ships, dinosaurs), but also because the visual language of childhood evokes memories of a time when magic was everywhere and you either hadn't heard of the 'accepted view of the world' with all its rules and limitations, or you were unwilling to accept it and preferred to make up your own, seeing mystery and intrigue everywhere.

Also showing will be a selection of local and national cut and paste maestros.

Peter Lewis will be giving an artists talk on Friday 1st September at 12pm.

For further details and print quality images, please contact Sian Torrington at ROAR! gallery.


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