Editorial by Wendy Cavenett
On a cool Melbourne day, local artist Michael Peck enters an old blue warehouse in the heart of Richmond. Inside, it’s 1950s ambience with monochrome walls and original period décor. “It’s like being on the set of Mad Men,” Peck says as he climbs the stairs to his studio located on the first floor. On the way he passes a solitary man in a small, boxy office. The secretary – replete with classic French twist and 50s attire – sits in a grey-hued reception area, typing an invoice on an old black and grey typewriter.
“I love it here,” Peck says. “It suits me perfectly.” It’s true. The setting is perfect when you consider Peck’s oeuvre. Renowned for his monochromatic palette and use of nostalgic imagery, his oil paintings have a unique relationship to time, memory and the idea of memento mori, the Latin phrase commonly translated as “remember that you must die”……. Read More+ Read more…
Opening on the 16th November…
If you are in Melbourne on the 16th November please join Michael to celebrate the opening of his latest solo Exhibition, ‘The Landing’. 6-30pm – 8.30pm, Metro Gallery- 1214 High St, Armadale. Victoria. Australia.+ Read more…
A new drawing for a new installation……+ Read more…
Milk Made Interview….+ Read more…
‘Target Practice # 4’, Michael Peck, 2011. Oil Paint on Linen.+ Read more…
New Fighter-Pilot painting.
New painting+ Read more…
Opening this week in Sydney.
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New Painting….. Fighter Pilot
Fighter Pilot # 1. Michael Peck, 2011. Oil Paint on Linen. 198cm x 198cm+ Read more…
friends have opened a new gallery…….
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Yet to be titled….
Michael Peck, 2011. 198cm x 198cm. Oil paint on Linen.+ Read more…
Michael Peck ‘Target Practice # 1’, 2011. 62cm x62cm . Oil Paint on Linen.+ Read more…+ Read more…
Sydney Public Wall Commission
Oxford Art Factory wall, Sydney. Michael Peck, 2011. 16m x 4m.+ Read more…
The time has come for the most highly anticipated exhibition in the Paradise Hills calendar. Featuring a selection of sixteen of Australia’s newest and most prominent painting talent, High Definition pushes painting in this country to the international forefront with fascinating imagery, unprecedented talent and quality that rivals that of any other international sensations. It is an exhibition that not only celebrates current Australian painting but also looks at the way in which new digital media and painting co-exist with each other in this era, with amazing outcomes.
Artists will include 2010 Archibald and Wynne Prize winner Sam Leach, Fletcher Jones painting prize winner Juan Ford, several Metro Painting Prize finalists Kevin Chin, Ry David Bradley, Michael Staniak and Andre Piguet, as well artists that have already received great national acclaim and have been represented or shown at several major galleries including Sullivan and Strumpf, Dianne Tanzer, Nellie Castan, Helen Gory, Chalk Horse, Charles Nodrum, Metro, Lindberg and Gallery Ecosse.
Also featured at the opening will be three live music performances from some young musical talents set to make big things happen on the national and world stages, with some already touring country. Bands include The Townhouses, Milk Teddy and Oscar Slorach-Thorn from Oscar + Martin.+ Read more…
Drew Funk @ No Vacancy, Melbourne.
Assisting with the installation of Drews exhibition at No Vacancy in Melbourne.
The exhibition is gearing up to be one of his best yet. Consisting of a series of finely detailed drawings, the works simultaneously display his patience and energy. A show not to be missed. Drew Funk’s ‘Black Linings’ opens on Thursday the 24th of March at 6.30.+ Read more…
Back in the studio……. painting.
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New work. First ink study for 2011.
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Come along to support this cause. The annual Lighthouse Foundation Art Auction will be held at The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art on December 2nd. Artworks by Michael Peck, Anthony Lister, David Bromley, Adrian Doyle and many more contemporary Australian artists will be auctioned to provide vulnerable young people at risk of homelessness with a stable environment.
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Michael Peck selected as a finalist for the prestigious Dobell Drawing Prize.
Michael Peck have been selected as a finalist for the prestigious Dobell Drawing Prize for his Drawing installation ‘The Land Stood Empty’. The Announcement of the winner will be made on 5th November at The Gallery of NSW. The drawing will be hanging in the gallery until January 2011.+ Read more…
Michael Peck Drawing Installation.
Paraidse Hills Drawing Installation. India ink on archival paper. 180 x 430cm.
Detail # 1
Detail# 2.+ Read more…
New Ink Project
A project I’ve been working on over the past couple of months. A drawing installation comrising 180 ink drawings of a changing landscape. It will be exhibited at Yarra Sculpture Garden, Melbourne mid September.+ Read more…
New for Sydney.
Michael Peck- Threats and Promises, 82cm x 36cm. Oil on Linen. 2010.+ Read more…
Something new from the studio – Miniatures.
Some very small ink drawings I am developing for a series of jewellery.+ Read more…
Michael Peck’s drawing installation from included in his ‘This May Hurt’ exhibition at Metro Gallery, Melbourne.+ Read more…
Michael Peck’s latest review on Arts Hub.+ Read more…
Michael Peck- Metro Gallery 2010. 3rd-23rd May
Michael Peck is showing at Metro gallery from the 3rd – 23rd May at Metro Gallery.
Opening night and drinks happens on the 5th May. www.metrogallery.com.au+ Read more…
Michael Peck is on Facebook- Become a Fan.+ Read more…
A Black and White Friday
I’ve spent the last week completing the last paintings to send to Metro Gallery. Its a good feeling but at the same time the studio will feel bare without any work in it. The show opens on the 5th of May. There will be large 16 paintings and a bunch of small ink works on paper. Most of the paintings have allready sold but I will deliver the works on paper about a week before the opening so that there is still something available on the night.+ Read more…
In the studio with the newest and largest painting for my coming solo show at Metro Gallery in May.+ Read more…
Magnus McTavish Vs Michael Peck
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Something from the studio.
Documentary film makers Erica Ahnfeldt and Tom Doman have spent considerable time in the blender over the past week and are working towards producing a piece about the blender artists.+ Read more…
In the studio
In the Blender studios with some new work in progress. Photo by Julian Distefano.+ Read more…
Blender Survey Show 2010.
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Blek Le Rat does the Blender.
On his way out of Melbourne on Monday Blek Le Rat popped into the blender studios for one last visit. After a barbeque and a few beers he left his mark on the famous Blender alleyway.+ Read more…
Mailbox 141 Exhibition Opening.
LINE (drawing) – MAILBOX 141
15 DECEMBER 2009 – 22 JANUARY 2010
Christopher LG Hill
Sixteen artists working in one mailbox each
were sent a card with a horizontal line marked in white ink
are asked to respond to the line as a material beginning
and to the idea of a continuous articulated line across the boxes.
For more information please contact curator firstname.lastname@example.org 0408 110 109
Thanks to the exhibiting artists and their representing galleries – Uplands, Place, Metro,
Catherine Asquith & Stephen McLaughlan Gallery.
MAILBOX 141. Entrance, 141 - 143 Flinders Lane Melbourne.
Mon/Fri 7am-7pm Sat 12-6pm+ Read more…
Michael Peck 2009 “Untitled”,
Pigmented ink on card, 23 x 11 cm.+ Read more…
Michael Peck, Untitled, Oil on canvas, 167X167cm. 2009.+ Read more…
The blender artists make art for a cause.
Artists from the blender made their way down to Federation Square today to compete in an art prize and raise money and food for the homeless in Melbourne. Michael Peck, Regan Tamanui, Adrian Doyle, Joseph Flynn, Ero and Drew Funk formed a team to compete against 30 artists from 11 Melbourne studios. Each Studio was given 1 hour to create an exquisite corpse painting, an artwork composed of three sections each made by a different artist. Although the blender crew, in true fashion, arrived late and unprepared we managed to pull it together to create the winning artwork! A combined stencil and ink painting created by Regan Tamanui, Michael Peck and Adrian Doyle was awarded first prize.
The Blender crew at work.
The winning artwork by Regan Tamanui, Michael Peck and Adrian Doyle. Poet Matt Lawry puts the final touches to the artwork by writing his prose into the shadows of Michael Pecks ink drawing.
My new studio at The Blender
I spent the week setting up my new studio at the blender studios in Franklin St, Melbourne. It’s now very white and pretty empty. Time to get some work done!+ Read more…
The finished Zaishu Box.
The final outcome for a design collaboration I worked on
with David Hagger, Kano Hollamby and Vexta.+ Read more…
Michael Peck, Amnesty, 2009. Oil on Linen. 137 x 137cm+ Read more…
My Zaishu Stool design
A few years ago my friend David Hagger curated an exhibition of Zaishu stools decorated by different artists. He had a few panels leaning up against a wall in his house so I thought I’d take one into the studio. This was the outcome, an Indian ink drawing based on recent works I exhibited at Metro Gallery.
For more Zaishu designs visit the website at http://www.zaishu.com+ Read more…
Something from the sketchbook
Just a random drawing from my sketchbook.+ Read more…
This is a slight departure from painting. As a side project I’ve been creating some animated work which seeks to extend some of the themes I explore in my paintings. Up till now I have just been developing some short animated story-boards so the quality is low and the images are not very detailed. However, the plan is to find visual solution which is closer to the aesthetic of the paintings. If you click on the link you can see a small section of the animation posted on youtube. Nothing much happens yet…………but it will. These things take time!+ Read more…
Michael Peck interviewed by Arts Hub.
Michael peck is the current feature artist on Arts Hub.
ArtsHub Q&A Michael Peck – Artist
What did you want to be when you grew up?
That depends on what age I was at the time. Here we go, starting from about the age of three and ending somewhere in my early thirties (now); Batman, fireman, policeman, garbage man (I’d still like to hang off the back of a truck!), professional skateboarder, professional surfer, landscape gardener, builder, furniture designer, architect, wealthy entrepreneur, poor humanitarian worker, or an artist. I’m still not sure what I want to be!
What did you become?
What’s your official title?
As a teacher my students call me Mr.Peck, however this is a title which no 31 year old should ever be called. I guess professionally I’m a visual artist.
What’s your background – how did you end up here?
I have always loved anything where I get to be creative and see my ideas being put to use in the real world. I grew up with pencils in my hand, I spray painted walls as a teenager and I discovered oil paint when I was eighteen. Although there have been many things I’d like to have explored, there never seemed to be an equal alternative to becoming an artist. When I completed my fine arts degree at Monash University, I was picked up by Gallery 101 in Melbourne and people seemed to like my work. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to travel a fair bit and produce commissioned work in London and New York. I’ve been exhibiting at Metro Gallery for the past 5 years.
How would you describe your work to a complete stranger?
Normally when I tell people I am a painter they ask me if I paint houses! People are not always easily convinced that being an artist is a career so normally I keep it simple; I paint pictures, I exhibit, I open myself up to scrutiny but I love what I do.
What’s the first thing career related you usually do each day?
I normally start in the studio at about 8.30 but I like to take the first half an hour just getting into the right frame of mind. I choose the right music depending on the type of painting I am doing and then I take time to look at each of the paintings I have in progress and think about the directions I will take them. If I do not take the time to do this I rush into my work and make mistakes, or worse, it begins to feel like work!
Can you describe an “average” working day for you?
I always have a few paintings going at any given time so I spend the majority of my time in the studio in front of the canvases. My days are pretty routine; I arrive, choose music to play, paint until lunch when my wife and kid’s come to visit, and then I paint up until about 6.00. I always have my laptop next to me in the studio so all of my administrative tasks can be done in between painting. I have a few friends who also do the same so often we email each other about what we are working on.
Who or what in the arts world most inspires you?
I am really inspired by art in public places- Art which you engage with when your not thinking about engaging with art; Graffiti, public sculpture, fashion, architecture and design all inspire me. Recently I have also been following a number of artist’s blogs. I love that these are constantly changing and do not seem to be limited only to showcasing artworks but more importantly give insight into how the artist’s day to day experiences contribute to new ideas.
What’s the toughest challenge you’ve dealt with on the job?
Earlier on, the greatest difficulty was to get my work noticed. Artists always run the risk of working really hard and then having no one pay any attention.
What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given for your career?
I ignored it! On the first day at art school I was warned that in reality only one student each year will actually go on to a successful career as an artist! The second best advice was that if I wanted to have a successful career as an artist I needed to be very stubborn and not listen to smart advice!
What are the top three skills you need in your particular role?
1. You have to be passionate, creative and skilled as an art maker.
2. You need to be able to finish projects and not go on tangents every time a new idea emerges.
3. You need to be good with people but accept that not everyone will always understand or like what you do. You need to be prepared for lots of knock-backs but at the same time make the most of good opportunities.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I get to do what I love and I get to put the best of me into something which I think is meaningful and purposeful.
And the worst?
Feeling uninspired and trying to force it!
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The 2009 Gertrude St Projection Festival
We took the kids along to see the projections on Gertrude street in Fitzroy tonight. In most cases the projections where fairly uninspired and we were a little disappointed, however, the collaborative piece by Artist Yandell Walton and animator Tobias J was captivating. Their work utilised the natural shadows in the space beautifully. By placing and morphing animated trees and creatures into the environment the two artists perfectly adressed the festival’s theme of dreams and illusion. I’d love to see the response of some poor guy stumbling back from the pub at two in the morning when he’s confronted by a tree which suddenly transforms into a 6 metre monster with a crocodile head and squid tentacles!
Night walkers by Yandell Walton and animator Tobias J.
If an artwork can capture a two and a half year old boys attention for longer than 10 seconds the artist is definitely onto a good thing!+ Read more…
I spent the last weekend in sydney for a forum run by artlink magazine. The forum was interesting, covering topics such as the changing climates of arts publishing, issues to do with copyright and freedom of expression. As an artist who appropriates much of my imagery from random sources it was interesting to hear other artists perspectives on the topic aswell as what the lawyers had to say. It was fascinating to see the ways in which many contemporary video artists are taking the process a step further, by reinterpetting existing films through the process of splicing, layering and digitalising old film into new contexts and narratives.+ Read more…
The opening of James Makin’s new gallery.
This photo was taken a few weeks ago at the opening of James Makin’s new gallery in Collingwood, Melbourne. A very exciting event, lots of media, great art and all the alcohol was finished!+ Read more…
Hannah Bertram- ‘Now they are gone, I hold them’.
Hannah is the only artist I know who has an opening as well as a closing for her exhibitions. Her ornamented dust installations take days to carefully layer through a process of stenciling and cleaning the patterns into a dusted or weathered surface. As these works are non permanent, they are beautiful and precious in their transience. Hannah’s work will be at Dianne Tanzer Gallery, Melbourne until Saturday 27th June when the piece will be ceremoniously swept away.
Now they are gone, I hold them+ Read more…
Dianne Tanzer Gallery, Melbourne
108-110 Gertrude St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
30 May 2009 – 27 June 2009
Closing Performance: Saturday 27 June 2009, 3pm
Michael Peck’s paintings at Dickerson Gallery, SydneyMichael Peck will exhibit three large paintings at Dickerson until the 24th June 2009.
34 Queen Street
Woollahra Sydney NSW 2025
Ph +61 2 9363 3358
Fax +61 2 9362 9555
Michael Peck featured: In The Real Art World
What’s going on in the real art world? Welcome to “In The Real Art World” and please excuse the pun. “In The Real Art World” alerts you to the best exhibitions of representational “realism” which are on at the moment anywhere in the world. Whether it be in a Museum or a commercial gallery, the main focus will be on contemporary art without ignoring the great art of the past. Although I appreciate good art in any form it takes, I noticed that there are a multitude of sites dedicated to what’s happening now in contemporary art. But there is no site that specialises in letting you know where to see the best of representational “realism” that is either contemporary, or of the past.+ Read more…
2009 Exhibition Commentary
Julien Warren 2009
Michael Peck’s paintings are a constructed blend of nostalgic imagery from the 1950s, an age of innocence, blended with the sense of foreboding darkness that we tolerate as the condition of our post 9-11 contemporary society. He joins images of a multiculturalism that position us in a present space that is global, familiar, yet impossible to locate.
Whenever I am confronted by Michael Peck’s paintings the word that best describes my reaction is shock but the vagaries of this hackneyed term places his paintings in the same league as the styles of art that predominated in the Twentieth Century that are contrived so blatantly to shock their viewer. This trend continues its evolutionary process with contemporary artists like the British artist Damien Hirst who have come to a public prominence that has emanated from the star system generated from the Turner Prize. The Turner Prize is a competition for contemporary artists publicized on prime time national British television that in the 1990s infused a languishing British art scene. The negative by-product of this publicity is that it birthed the assumption that to impact the mass public art must be increasingly shocking. Art has become equated with shock and the once already tragic notion of ‘art for arts sake’ has morphed into ‘shock for shock sake’. Peck’s highly considered approach to painting contrasts with the work that is now rewarded by this undiscerning plebian system. Peck’s shock value relies on our society’s loss of innocence, on our expectations of what life should be but isn’t. We are confronted by our own denial, of a grief that we have laid dormant in order to cope with modern life.
I concede that Damien Hirst’s formeldahyde shark holds currency in my life, albeit outside the boundaries that I use to define good art. Hirst’s shocking shark has the craftsmanship that would be the envy of the world of taxidermy, and I am not simply alluding to the size of the job. Hirst sends a powerful, salient reminder of the foolhardiness of staying in the surf until dusk. It should be noted however that Hirst’s shock value translates better to a shark infested country like Australia rather than his native Britain where one might conceivably suffer psychological scarring from the sucking of an overzealous gummy shark. It is a shame that I cannot take this sort of shocking art seriously and survive it only by reverting to humour. I wish I could keep this sense of humour when I contemplate Damien Hirst’s diamond encrusted skull which is valued at 50 million pounds. Do we really need to be shocked by art about the excesses of an existential world when consumerism is in our face already?
What sets Michael Peck’s art apart from this decadent art is that, as well as being shockingly confrontational, his paintings are simultaneously beautiful and profound. This body of work consists of monochromatic compositions of humanity executed with an intense realism reliant on a mastery of the depth of field. Each figure is placed in a context of a visual narrative that suggests a tension between our existential and our spiritual worldviews. This is the tension of surrealism where psychoanalytical connotations are endued from within the viewer’s subconscious minds.The composition’s intrinsic symbolism executed with superb craftsmanship elicits cognizance of subjective meanings that are sublime, ethereal and philosophical.
A recurrent symbol in this exhibition are birds; pigeons, that have a presence that is far
from benign, they seem to weigh on the subjects like an ethereal burden, they are at once natural but unnatural. For me this juxta-positioning of images in Untitled 2008 denotes the sinister representation of natural phenomena coined by Hitchcock in The Birds but this association is no mere coincidence because Peck like the film director’s Hitchcock and Weir [The Last Wave and Picnic at Hanging Rock] have purposefully manipulated the context of the everyday in order to create the profound.
Another of Peck’s symbols is the solitary person journeying through a narrative space devoid of colour that seems timeless like a silent film. We cannot help but identify with these characters and to begin to imagine their story and to draw parallels with our own experience. The characters that inhabit these narratives are alienated from a sense of community, they are left to make sense of the lonely world they inhabit, with only their emotions to make sense of it. This is most evident in Composition 2008, a painting inspired by Goya’s representation of the mythical Greek cyclops Polyphemus blinded by Odysseus and his men and is now fumbling in the dark to prevent their escape. This painting’s theme is the quintessence of Peck’s mission to illustrate our existential angst, we feel lost, overwhelmed, vulnerable and helplessly alone.
Dr. Julian Warren is an art educator and writer. Until recently he was a lecturer of Visual Culture at Somerset College of Art, and a Film Studies lecturer at Exeter University in the UK.+ Read more…