oil on linen
122 x 122 cm
Michael Peck’s large oil paintings feel both comfortable and unsettling. ‘Good art allow us to engage with our anxieties,’ he says. Dreamlike landscapes show children using objects associated with war and conflict – guns, soldiers helmets and aviator hats – as toys and dressing up clothes, or dressed as badge-adorned scouts poised uncertainly on an invisible threshold to adulthood. Their expressions are inscrutable; innocent yet hinting at the realisations that adult experience will bring.
The protagonist in these paintings is the scout. Dressed in uniform and adorned in merit badges, the scout romantically takes on an identity; caring, heroic, independent and prepared for adversity. Yet, in a realm somewhere between childhood and adulthood the scout is also naïve and lost. He could never be prepared for this ‘new world’ and is left bravely searching for meaning in a hostile and uncertain wasteland.
Born in Melbourne in 1977, Michael Peck has a Bachelor of Fine Art (honours) (Painting) from Monash University. He has exhibited as a solo artist since 1998, when he won the National Gallery of Victoria’s Trustees Award. Peck was a finalist in the 2010 Dobell Drawing Prize, the 2005 Metro Art Award, and the 2013 and 2014 Sulman Prize. In 2012 he was a finalist in the Archibald Prize and highly commended in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. In 2013 he won the People’s Choice Nillumbik Art Prize, Melbourne. His public commission works include a wall mural for Oxford Art Factory. His work is held in Monash University art collection and private collections Australia, London, New York and Hong Kong.
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