Peter De Lorenzo
Negotiations and Meditations
‘Colour speaks on its own terms the way a trumpet sounds its own notes…’ When asked to talk about the first influences on his paintings it is with the early work of Wassily Kandinsky that Peter DeLorenzo begins: ‘… the Blue Rider paintings in which colour operates more like music and those points of transition when the colour lifts itself away from what it starts out to represent and becomes something else, that’s what was so vital’.
It could be said that this fascination with colour has not only informed the last thirty five years of Peter DeLorenzo’s painting but also lies at the heart of this present body of work. Here the viewer is met, in one work, with an intense flicker of colour rippling across the surface of the canvas the way reflections in water are constantly shifting, while in another a stillness takes over requiring a more contemplative viewing. In both cases the potential for colour to evoke emotions is heightened by the fact that all external representation is excluded through the use of the grid. If colour can be employed in a way that parallels music then music also answers to mathematics and in turn to a set of geometries which orchestrate pattern and movement. The surface of the paintings are divided into evenly distributed units which relate both to the whole and the edge of the canvas. The initial decision is arbitrary, but from that point on the rules of engagement are set. The game is finished when the last square is completed. The strategies are minimalist, an interplay of two factors – colour and geometry – but the result is far from the cool intentions of minimalism.
Peter DeLorenzo is both a painter and a film maker. One of the things that distinguishes painting from film is that in painting the surface is there to be read simultaneously or selectively according to the viewer while in film the ‘seeing’ is sequential and dictated. The carefully nuanced variations across this surface court a different sense of time and contemplation. If the Modernist surface, having relinquished perspective, was a flat, ‘no holes through it’, ‘real’ surface, then the game here is to project the space of the painting forwards into the viewer’s space while maintaining a surface that is still essentially flat. (1) Cancellations and erasures used in earlier paintings maintain this surface yet at the same time infer something hidden or concealed.
In earlier paintings the motif has been a fragment or part of an image, a gate or a grill placed against a coloured ground. In the present works the motif is a geometric pattern, a set of vectors, or diagonals, a frame within a frame. It is these motifs which suggest movement, pattern and provide the structures for the rhythm and orchestration of colour which in turn suggest emotive possibilities.
Another more recent influence on these paintings comes from Moroccan tiles with their limited palette and infinite subtle variations of colour, a result of the organic way in which they are made. These variations are obvious close up but from a distance what is seen is a complete picture in which the imperfections are invisible yet integral to the richness of the whole. In Peter De Lorenzo’s paintings the inflexible logic of the grid is subverted through borders that are less than perfect, whose edges nudge one another through erasures or changes. The end product is the result of a series of negotiated moves in which the process of making is as much a part of the subject of the work as is the emotive quality of the colour. This notion of series which involves repetition not only within the canvas but between canvases refers back to the ground of mathematics and the serialism of some contemporary composers. It uses a minimalist strategy with a visibly expressionist aim. This would place the works clearly within a Modernist context if it were not for the equal attention given to the autonomy of an open-ended process which, on occasion, produces the incomplete, the fragmented, image as a finished product.
It need also be said that though these paintings find their origins in European and American Abstraction -in the layered transparencies of Morris Louis, the gestured and serialised images of Alechinsky, the cancellations and erasures of Richter, they are also grounded in the colours of the landscape, in the brilliant and ephemeral sunsets of the Southern Highlands of New South Wales in which Peter DeLorenzo has lived for the last ten years.
Chantal Grech, 2008
(1) Greenberg, Clement, Towards a Newer Laocoon, The collected Essays and Criticism.
Ed. John Obrian. Chicago: the University of Chicago Press, 1986
- Born Sydney 1952
- Lives and works in Robertson in the Southern Highlands of NSW.
- solo / Divided by White, Robin Gibson Gallery
- Small is the new Big, Robin Gibson Gallery
- Abstraction, Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney
- solo / Negotiations and Meditations; Wollongong City Gallery
- short listed for Rencontres Paris/Berlin, Musée du Jeu du Paume, Paris
- solo / Uncertain Narratives; New England Regional Art Museum Armidale
- solo / The Tunnel; Wollongong City Gallery
- The Tunnel Internet project www.the-virtual-mine.net
- Gegenort-the Virtual Mine The Tunnel Neunkirchen, Germany;
- Ars Electronica media lounge Linz, Austria;
- South of Sydney, Mary Place Gallery
- 25th Anniversary Exhibition, Past Faculty, College of Fine Arts, UNSW
- COMPACTS Université Rennes, France
- Digital Video Hamburg International Short Film Festival;
- Being Digital cd_rom Exhibition; Microwave Festival 97 Hong Kong;
- Transat Vidéo Présents 11èmes Rencontres Video Art Plastique Centre d’Art Contemporain de Basse-Normandie, France;
- Project Contemporary Art Space, Wollongong;
- burning the interface ‘international artists’ CD-rom’
- · Perth Institute of Contemporary Art;
- · Brisbane City Hall Gallery and Museum
- · Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney;
- · Centre for Contemporary Photography Melbourne;
- · Ngarpartgi Multimedia Centre Adelaide
- Hamburg International Film Festival Germany;
- Digital Cinema, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Linden Gallery, Melbourne;
- Pixels, Artrage Festival, ICA Perth
- Siggraph 94 Orlando, Florida, USA;
- solo / Sequence and Series, concerning the instant. Works Gallery
- A Sense of Space, FIRE, video installation, Coachhouse Sydney
- Maitland Invitation Art Prize
- solo / Portraits of Desire, First Draft, Sydney
- solo / Lovers and Angels; Reconnaissance, Melbourne
- Moet and Chandon Touring Exhibition
- · Westpac Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre Melbourne;
- · Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Hobart;
- · Art Gallery of Western Australia Perth;
- · Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National Gallery Canberra.
- · Queensland Art Gallery Brisbane.
- · Art Gallery of New South Wales Sydney
- A First Look Australian National Gallery Canberra
- solo / Leichhardt Rooftops; Mori Gallery, Sydney
- solo / Novocastro, Mori Gallery, Sydney
- solo / Paris Black; Watters Gallery, Sydney
- 12th Internationale Grand Prix d’Art Contemporean Monte Carlo, Monaco
- Australian National Gallery, Canberra
- National Film and Sound Archive
- Australian Art Bank
- Australian Film Commission
- Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville
- The University of Wollongong
- The Research and Documentation Centre (CR+D) of the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology Montréal, Québec, Canada
- Head of TAFE studies Digital Media Centre, University of Wollongong Innovations Campus: concept development, curriculum development. fit-out and equipment
- Head of the Centre for Digital Media and Design, CDMD, Illawarra Institute of TAFE Wollongong; www.cdmd.edu.au; set up, established and managing a new department. Building refurbishment concept development, fit-out and equipment, curriculum development
- Chair of the Robertson Shed Inc, Committee Chair and Project co-coordinator for the Robertson Community Technology Centre: concept development, fit-out and equipment
- Board member dLux Media Art Sydney
- Chair of Electronic Media Arts (Australian International Video Festival)
- Paris in paint, Illawarra Mercury Weekender, august 9-10, p69, full page interview with 4 colour images.
- compacts> digital works of art on cd-rom, École régionale des beaux-arts, Station Arts Électroniques – Université Rennes, France ISBN 2-86847-381-4
- 11èmes Rencontres Video Art Plastique, Centre d’Art Contemporean de Basse-Normandie; ISBN 2-909127-17-6
- Hamburg International Film Festival catalogue
- burning the interface
- Converging on film’s backyard, the Adelaide Advertiser; Sept 12
- ABC national television REVIEW April 2, interview and screening of
- Reflection, Abstraction and Memory Structures
- SIGGRAPH 94 Multimedia CD – ROM; Angel Song, a digital animation, ACM SIGGRAPH, PO Box 12114, Church Street Station, New York, 10257.
- Moet and Chandon Touring Exhibition catalogue.
- Directory of Australian Printmakers, Print Council of Australia.
- Art and Australia, vol 14, nos 2 & 4
Digital Film Projects
- HERE AND THERE 6min
- FROM LITTLE THINGS 3min16
- INSIDE OUTSIDE, The Virtual Praxinascope 9 min
- THROUGH GLASS DARKLY 8min30
- THE PROMISED LAND 3min30
- THE TUNNEL 5min45
- REMBRANDT’S FIRE 3min45
- MIRROR HERE, MIRROR THERE 5min
- BRANDENBURG SUITE 8min
- LIKE ICE, LIKE FIR E3min30
- RED DRESS 2min30
- REFLECTION, ABSTRACTION AND MEMORY STRUCTURES … RAMs (Produced with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission) 13min