Peter Blayney

10 September – 5 October 2016

peter-blayney

Peter Blayney

Laocoön 1985 oil on canvas 107×121cm

Peter Michael Blayney (1920-2014)

Works from the Estate

10 September – 5 October 2016

Statement by artist Wendy Sharpe August 2016

Peter Blayney was one of my lecturers in Painting in the mid 1980s.
He was one of the most intelligent and articulate people I have ever met.
Always looking beyond the obvious to discuss subletities of drawing and colour that I hadn’t thought of.
He was always supportive, insightful, generous and funny.He was that rare thing, genuine artist . Not in it for money or pretence.
It was a great gift to have known him.

Essay by critic John McDonald 2009

“Illusions: claim to have had a great many and complain that you have lost them all Flaubert’s Dictionary of Received Ideas.”

“I’m laughing at myself,” Peter Blayney confesses, “but I can’t stop. There is a side to my work that is entirely ridiculous. I paint these things because I’m disillusioned with the present, but I’m an old man and I’ve a right to be disillusioned if I want to be – although I wish I wasn’t.”

There may be an overtone of humour in Blayney’s mythological paintings, but there is also a genuine fascination for the Greek and Roman legends, and a recognition of their timeless, universal relevance. Now in his eighties, Blayney made his first attempts at depicting the classical myths when he was studying ancient history at high school. In the years that followed he has painted in a naturalistic style, experimented with lyrical Abstraction, and returned to the neo-classical mode he admires in artists such as Poussin.

Elwyn Lynn once called Blayney “the overlooked artist”, and this remains true today. Having worked consistently for more than sixty years he is overdue for a survey exhibition that does justice to his long and varied career.

Although he has tried from time to time to work with greater freedom, Blayney is an intellectual painter. He has a great respect for the written word, and will think through a series before he picks up the brush. Like Poussin, and like artists such as Herbert Badham, Jean Bellette and William Dobell, who were his teachers and mentors, Blayney works hard on his compositions. His usual method is to paint a sketch in oils before moving on to a larger scale.

These mythological paintings are full of wry references to the present, and occasionally to the artist’s Australian roots. Zeus has come to Leda in the form of a black swan. Adonis, who seems rather embarrassed by the attentions of a nude Venus, is dressed casually in jeans and T-shirt. He holds a rifle – a weapon that might have saved his classical predecessor, who was killed by a wild boar.

The soldier saying farewell to his wife and child in On the Trojan Wall, could be a member of the Australian Peace Keeping Force rather than a defender of Troy. Hercules may resemble his classical self, complete with a strip of fur around his loins, and a massive club, but he has left a jeep parked in the driveway.

If Blayney’s figures are not entirely serious, neither are they merely comical. They may appear at times like characters in a soap opera, but the scenes they act out are mostly brutal and tragic. Do we see them this way? These deadpan images seem to allude to the way that movies and the media have accustomed us to violence and immunized us against tragedy. If there is one illusion that Blayney would probably wish to preserve, it is the idea that viewers may still be moved and stirred by the stories that have laid the foundations of western culture. No matter if they are depicted in T-shirts or in togas, these Greeks are our contemporaries.

John McDonald, 2009
John McDonald is art critic for the Sydney Morning Herald

the images on this page are only a selection from the exhibition – to see further images, and the artist’s CV

click here

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    The Mysterious Grove 1991 oil on canvas 76×91cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Hercules and the Bull Acheloüs (Metamosphoses book IX) 1994-2001 oil on board 51×60cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Close Combat 1987-1993 oil on canvas 122×137cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Rainforest, Kincumber 1991 oil on canvas 43×53cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Molly Bloom, Leopold Bloom & the Nymph 1998 oil on canvas 137×106cm – Sold

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Cone Shell 1996 oil on canvas 122×127cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Monument 2001 oil on canvas 71×55.5cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Ariadne and Zurbinetta oil on canvas 1978-1981 92×101.5cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Self Portrait 1982 oil on canvas 76×59cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    In Praise of Authority (sketch) c.1982 oil on canvas 122×101cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Untitled 1982 oil on canvas 107×91cm – RESERVED


  • Peter Blayney

    Untitled (study) 45×61cm oil on cavnas

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    The Painter and her Models 2000 oil on canvas 122×126cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    The Owl and the Pussycat 1950 Rome 92×72cm oil on canvas

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    The Majestic Merman 1992 oil on canvas 76×71cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    The Judgement of Paris 2010 oil on canvas 76×101.5cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Study for "Dolce Fa Niente" 45.5×91.5cm oil on canvas

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Place of Work 1982 oil on canvas 101.5×76.5cm – Sold
    UTS Art Collection

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    On a Fabled Shore II 2009 oil on canvas 76×101cm – Sold

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Listening to the Sea 1986 oil on canvas 71×91.5cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Leviathan Ashore 1987 oil on canvas 76×106.5cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Kincumber Quarry 1991 oil on linen 59×64cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Jumbo's Birthday – sketch oil on canvas 98×93.5cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Janus 1993 oil on canvas 90×85cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    In Consideration of a Lily 1990 oil on canvas 122×106.5cm/139×123cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    From a Window at Antibes 1992 oil on canvas 76×50cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Entrance to an Estate 1991 oil on canvas 101×86cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Dolce Fa Niente 2006-2008 oil on canvas 61×112cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Dawn Watch 2003 oil on canvas 122×91cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Daphne and Apollo II 2010 oil on linen 61×91.5cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Classic Scene 1985 oil on canvas 124×134cm

  • peter-blayney

    Peter Blayney

    Boredom 1996 oil on canvas 63.5×50.5cm


website design all-sorts website designs for art galleriesall-sorts websites