Day Survey – 2006

Surveying Peter Day

Thirty something works from 30 something exhibitions, over 30 something years.

Surveying Peter Day’s prolific career, one is immediately struck by the distinction he makes between the two aspects of his practice: the public and the private – the work for the client (Day says this is half way between design and art) and the work he creates for himself.

Of the public work, he has completed approximately 170 public commissions in 26 years – making him one of Australia’s most publicly commissioned artists, working from east coast Australia to New York and Mexico in painted murals, ceramics, mosaics, steel, mudbricks, frescos and digital prints.

Of Peter Day’s private works, ‘Day:Survey’ attempts an overview of works created using various media on paper: there are thirty something works from thirty something exhibitions over thirty something years.

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Museings Exhibition – Gallery East – Clovelly Feb 2003

The Landscape of Isolation

These works by Peter Day are landscape based and conceived. Pressing Peter further about the landscape one learns of extended trips through Lightning Ridge, Brewarrina, Broken Hill and the Hay Plains. That vast hinterland of metropolitan Sydney, the outback desert country of New South Wales is the key landscape that he is referring to in this exhibition. What fascinates the painter in Peter about this landscape is its minimalism. There is an apparent absence of topographical variety as the flat plains, which are vegetated with low-level scrub that continues to the horizon and infinity, inculcating a feeling of isolation. Off the ribbon of bitumen road nothing stirs. Only the fences and a dried cowpat suggest the presence of unseen others. In this landscape the vestiges and traces of activity are minimal and the present moment is devoid of any activity outside one’s own movements. The harshness alienates one, the primordial age makes one feel superfluous and the vastness enhances the isolation. On a visit to India Peter found that not surprisingly the landscape of Rajasthan, although very different, evoked the same intense feelings.

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A Long Stick Exhibition – UTS Gallery, University of Technology Sydney, July 28 – August 28 1998

A Tribute to Three Arthurs

An exhibition about balance and influence in the paintings, prints and installations by Peter Day

“Painters are not neccessarily in revolt against the methods of previous masters, as critics would have us believe; the differences are often a shift of emphasis.”

John Olsen; Drawing from Life, 1997

It is not unusual to find developments and new directions in artist’s work coinciding with changes in the fabric and experience of their personal and professional life and this has undoubtedly been the case with Day’s latest body of work. A Long Stick has developed from two previous exhibitions by Peter Day shown earlier this year at BDAS Gallery, Bowral and the Project Centre for Contemporary Art in Wollongong.

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Harmonics of the Dark – Atrium Gallery ABC Ultimo 1995

Robert Louis Stevenson’s aphorism that “to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive” was reflected in much art practice of the 1970s, which viewed an artwork’s process as being more engrossing than the resulting product. Process represented an arena of creative decision making, and artists would often document the artwork’s narrative—its false starts, its second thoughts, its evolutionary renegotiations.

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