Through painting, printing, photography, 3D animation and film, multimedia artist Peter Alwast experiments with new methods of creating images. His multi-step production process, in which he repeatedly splices and combines the same motifs, allows him to produce cinematic and abstract works that hint at futuristic worlds.Read More
Alwast's compositions of imagined landscapes are depopulated, dreamlike and often feel timeless, as if hovering in a space between the real and the virtual. This is true across all mediums he utilises, from his washed-out, pastel-coloured oil paintings that feature faint architectural forms floating—or falling—through a wintery sky (as seen in his 2007 exhibition Places That Don't Exist at George Petelin Gallery), to his video work Everything (2008), a five-minute, three-channel animation featuring an imaginary landscape of snow-capped mountains, half-built houses, industrial neon tubing and a bright yellow car.
The visual complexity running throughout Alwast's work is only amplified by his laborious methodology. Typically beginning by drawing or painting an image, Alwast then photographs it and composes it again as a virtual space using computer software. He then prints the resulting image out and physically draws onto it once more. The process results in complex and dense imagery, as seen in works such as Haystacks (2011), which features a collection of three open-ended cubes, each constructed from sheets of paper sitting in an imagined grey room—some printed with images of the ocean, others covered in colourful childlike drawings—and Storm (2011), a surreal, candy-coloured scenario, where a single piece of paper with cloud forms scribbled on it intersects a cross-section of metallic, ocean-like water. Alwast also works with a reversed version of this process—drawing digitally first, then collaging the physical, printed images together afterwards, as seen in his colourfully abstract works Junction (2011) and Always Forever (2011), both of which are made up of multiple giclee prints.
Alwast's concern with light and form are reflected in his video works, such as Future Perfect (2011), in which a light source is suspended near a landscape's horizon. This effect holds the viewer in a perpetual twilight zone—never arriving, never leaving. He achieved a similar tension in his 2013 exhibition Duets (2013) at Gallery 9 in Sydney by juxtaposing an image of curved pieces of paper directly beside an image of a similar composition, both images combining painting and photography and neither one more real than the other.
In 1997, Alwast completed his Bachelor of Visual Arts with Honours at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane; in 2001, he received his Master of Fine Arts from Parsons in New York. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world, including No Soul For Sale, Tate Modern, London (2010); Update III, Liedts-Meesen Foundation, Ghent (2010); Future Perfect, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2011); Experimenta Utopia Now, Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania (2011); Looking Down, Gallery 9, Sydney (2013); and 1, 2, 3, Gallery 9, Sydney (2015).
Alwast lives and works in Brisbane.
Genista Jurgens | Ocula | 2018
New York, Barcelona, Berlin and now Grafton. While that does sound a tad humorous, visual artist Peter Alwast is enjoying his latest residency in the Jacaranda City at the Grafton Regional Art Gallery in the lead-up to the city's prestigious biennial drawing award.