Valley Artist

May 2017 Featured Artist - Victoia Peel

As a practicing artist for over 35 years I have been interested in exploring space, light and colour in both interiors and landscape, influenced partly by the poet and philosopher, Gaston Bachelard. In his book “The Poetics of Space” I have been inspired by the following question - ” How concrete is the world of the spirit, where a mere door can give images of hesitation, temptation, seduction,, security and warmth? The idea that you can give any form or object meaning interests me.

Another early influence was from the first art book I bought, based on Persian Miniatures painted in 16th Centuary , Those images still stay with me - their brilliant colour, rhythm and geometry, uniting manmade and natural forms.
I had a studio in St Albans, for 6 years, on an escarpment overlooking the MacDonald River. During the years from 1997 until 2009 my work was based on the experience of loving and feeling at home in this area, investigating its history, community and landscape. Over twelve years I had five solo exhibitions in St Albans Gallery.

In 2008, the exhibition ” Night Spaces” was to be my last solo show in St Albans. I had begun exploring, in pastel and paint, the night light of rural and urban landscape . St Albans Gallery is closed now. In 2011, I exhibited at Albion St Gallery my next body of work, ” Into the Night,” My first solo exhibition in Sydney for 15 years. I turned much of my attention to Bondi Beach, where I have a history, along with my grandfather who grew up there and my nephews, the “Webber Boys” who surfed there for many years.

In my art practice I am often attracted to an image without completely knowing why and it is only within the exploration of the subject that the meaning reveals itself. However, I am always drawn to a sense of mystery. The night, when forms are hidden, transforms the common place. The night stimulates my imagination and although dark colours can be interpreted as oppressive, in my work they describe the mystery of an inner journey, into the unknown. I am interested in the myths based on life-transitions, the archetypal pattern of the “Hero’s Journey”, which involves adversity and the pathway to renewal - myths which represent the challenges of the human condition.

For the last few years I’ve been back, painting in the Forgotten Valley. During this time I have worked collaboratively with Col Lyons, Caretaker of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Lands Council. The Ferry Artist Gallery commissioned us to paint and install, in Wisemans Ferry, a group of three 9 meter poles on the theme of Reconciliation and Unity between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous Community of the Hawkesbury River Valley.

I am now concentrating on the valley at twilight, exploring the contrast and rhythms of manmade and natural forms. Here a tin roof reflecting the light of the evening sky reminds me of a spaceship, a stranger in a strange land and yet I still paint with the notion of coming home. My father was in the Navy. We moved countries every few years and so I had no experience of truely being at home, until coming to St Albans in 1997. I plan to exhibit these works at Artsite Gallery in Camperdown, in Sydney in September 2018.

I have held 14 solo exhibitions in Sydney, Adelaide and St Albans. Selected twice for the “Salon des Refuses” Wynne Prize Exhibition I have participated in many group shows in Australia, USA, UK and China. My work is in Private collections, Art Bank, East Sydney Technical College, Hawkesbury City Council, The Royal Australian Navy and The National Art School (Printmaking Department.)

My studies in Fine Art were undertaken at the Byam Shaw School of Art, London and in Sydney, at East Sydney Technical College and the College of Fine Arts (COFA) University of NSW where I completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Drawing and Painting. More recently I have completed a Diploma in Transpersonal Art Therapy at the College of Complementary Medicine in Hornsby.

My teaching experience in drawing and painting extends over 25 years and includes tertiary institutions such as the National Art School, College of Fine Arts and Seaforth TAFE. As a visiting artist, I have recently held workshops in drawing and painting for the Ferry Artists Gallery, Wiseman’s Ferry and Camp Wollemi, St Albans. For the past year I have been employed to facilitate Group Art Therapy Workshops for the Magnolia Healing Centre, Rose Bay, Sydney and recently as a Drawing Tutor for the Ku-ring-gai Art Centre in Roseville.