I N T R O D U C T I O N
This exhibition of 18 recent paintings by Peter Ireland is in three parts, corresponding to the walls of the gallery: on the left-hand wall are six images from his ongoing Icon series, which employs images from Byzantine and early Italian painting (all necessarily religious in origin) “updated” with references to the New Zealand landscape and developing Pacific culture.
The end wall features three works from his new Regional Wallpaper series, and there exist now just three with several more planned. This series derives from his earlier Waitangi Wallpaper series of the 1990/2000s, but is more geographical in temper than the political thrust of the Waitangi works.
The right-hand wall contains nine new images from his revived Sampler series, beginning in the 1990s and now numbering over a hundred works. They have their origins in the sewing & embroidery traditions of late medieval Europe when young women learned these crafts, presenting a formal sample of what they had achieved, usually in the form of alphabets and numbers, and increasingly, pictures from nature of animals, birds, trees and landscapes. From the later 17th century this combination began to feature favourite quotations and “improving” sayings from sources such as the Bible & Shakespeare.
Ireland has picked up on this aspect and used it to comment on the “state of the nation” and mock the lazy – and environmentally dangerous – assumptions around the landscape painting tradition in this country.
(All works are oil on paper and framed)