here and there

June 3, 2016 to June 12, 2016
Peter Alwast

For Here and There, a solo show by Peter Alwast, The Garage moves out from private garages and takes over an empty shop inside the Garema Center on Garema place. The opening party will take place on Friday June the 3rd, from 6pm to 9pm.  Peter Alwast’s practice involves a clash of representational systems which means that it can be read through a tradition of dialectical tension that spans back to the Socratic method. A focus of the work is the negotiation of (apparently) opposite polarities, which are then disputed and disrupted through the process of translation. In the end, these works dismantle hierarchies and bring us to the inescapable awareness of knowing nothing.

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Here and There is also built on polarities and their fading distinctions. The starting point are four small and improvisational paintings that cannot be easily placed within the abstract or figurative tradition. These paintings, far from aiming at a ‘masterpiece’ status, are made with an elemental language of expressive signs and materials, comprised of small fragments, heirs of a conception of the artwork that dates back to Braque, Klee and more recently, Richard Tuttle.

 These paintings are then put to work in a relation of different systems of contrasts, such as the surface of support and a shift in scale. Subsequently, we have a differentiation between what we may call the hand made traditional of painting with its material, tactile quality and the digital image of the prints, reinforced by the sharp, brilliant colours of their lines and by the smooth surface of the paper. The third opposition lies in the non-illusionist surfaces of the paintings, affirming their granular materiality in distinction to the illusionary space created by the lines in the digital images. Conventional assumption would tend to link the real object with the ‘subjective’ language of painting,  while the printed computer-generated image is assumed to be a rational and detached representation. This tension places us within the contested arena of Realism that can be dated back to the modernist avant-garde but that in fact traverses a longer history of art. Does art congeal the world into a tangible form or is its effectiveness based on distance and the ability to frame the world by a window to look through?

 It seems that the works in Here and There offer a solution where translation between oppositions shifts a singular perspective. The coalescence is not immediate and relates to subtle qualities such as light and colour, image and abstraction. Colour joins the paintings and prints, inviting us to perceive the work as a whole. At the same time, the fact that colour is translated through different surfaces creates an internal dynamism between the two different sensations of light; one that is organic and subject to change while another mediated and without time. The real is therefore again contested: we are Here and There, in between spaces, without the possibility of choosing the final definition of what is “real” and what is not and perhaps the real is not a matter of choosing?

Peter Alwast (born 1975 in Warsaw) is currently based in Canberra, where he is lecturer in Painting at ANU. His practice employs a range of media including painting, drawing, video and computer graphics,. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, in solo shows such as 1,2,3 at Gallery 9, Sydney (2015); Future Perfect at Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2011) and in group shows as The Wandering, MCA Touring Exhibition, (2013), Selectively Revealed, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, Taiwan (2012), Experimenta Utopia Now, Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania (2011). In 2008 he was the inaugural recipient of The Premier of Queensland New Media Art Award, hosted by The Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia. Peter is represented by Gallery9, Sydney.

The Garage at Garema Centre is kindly offered by Notaras Commercial.