Peter Peryer 2017 features colour works of the last decade, from Newel, Oamaru, 2007 to the handsome new release Shell Study, 2017. The latter is the latest in a long line of Peryer shell pictures (think After Rembrandt, 1996 and Conus, 2007 for example), its cut profile revealing two chambers delicately screwed together. It is a soft tonal picture of echoing, repeated forms - a variation of Peter's long interest in the double as compositional leit-motif, also seen in Pillars, a texture-based image captured in 2015 in Sydney.
Newel, Oamaru is obviously a pattern picture (as Peter would say), but it's a terribly obsessive image too. We stand before a nightmare in flowers and heavy brown wood, all angles and oppressive busyness. Was a gate really required to keep people up these stairs? Domestically, we struggle with such overload these days, yet this is an interior many of us were quite literally born and raised within. The good news: Newel is also available as a jigsaw.
I want too, to talk briefly of Peryer's wonderful ability to play with notions of scale. There are several images in this exhibition in which he does this. Macraes is a vast, open cast goldmine at the northern end of the Maniototo. In Peter's picture, taken in soft, no shadow light, blast marks and rippling geomorphology offer a variegated and beautifully intimate texture for scrutiny. And the massive trucks driving up and down this face are much more the tonka toys of my youth, than the industrial behemoths we know them to be. So the large becomes delightfully small, and vice versa. Expectations of size and scale are toyed with. A rock on the roadside at Gibbston takes on the attributes of Double Cone, the highest point in the Remarkables (conveniently, just out of sight behind). A film set crane looks majestic against the sky in Arch; Blood Veil is a mighty scarf mountain, and even Pillars is actually much smaller than you might expect.
All of which engenders a chuckle and a smile. Peryer's humour is deft - the unlikely truncation of Divided School, the crafty fiction that is Coral Reef, and the generous detail of Angel Wings and Fans. Such are the pleasures of Peter Peryer 2017.
Press release courtesy Jonathan Smart Gallery.