Since his earliest exhibition with Tolarno Galleries in 1991, Peter Atkins has transformed his obsessive practice of hunting, collecting and meticulously cataloguing everyday items into paintings luminous with fields of intense colour. A master of abstraction, Atkins brings a refined cultural judgement to humble subjects, and like an alchemist he elevates them into art and design that becomes wondrous.
His recent preoccupation is the bold graphic and geometric designs of train tickets issued in Melbourne and country Victoria between 1920 and the late 1980s. In Station to Station, he created 12 flags referencing iconic designs for journeys in and out of Flinders Street Station as part of the National Gallery of Victoria Melbourne Now (2013) exhibition.
Currently on display until October 2019 is RAILway, Atkins' Public Commission for the Metro Tunnel Creative Program on Swanston Street, Melbourne. These designs reflect suburban train tickets throughout greater Melbourne and country tickets issued across Victoria.
Atkins' journey now arrives at The Passengers, a new series of 36 intimate, jewel-like paintings. Focusing on the exquisite forms underneath each ticket, the paintings reveal an evocative collection of abstracted forms and colours that represent a fascinating visual coded language, a railway vernacular, that is particular to Melbourne and greater Victoria.
"These tickets are like connectors, connecting us all through time and place, to locations, events, friends and family in and around our beautiful city of Melbourne," Atkins says.
Press release courtesy Tolarno Galleries.