About

Peter Webster’s images have a strong relationship to language. Not all painting and drawing would so richly repay an effort to think this through, to ask about the similarity and difference between language and painting, to consider the way the two media respectively draw from and re-constitute time and space, identify objects, define events, evoke memory, and much more.

Webster’s process draws on an array of sources—photographs, small objects, reproductions of paintings and drawings, newspaper and magazine clippings, snippets of text, film stills, website screens. There are even some small, rough models of three-dimensional shapes taken from other paintings. These things form an absolutely unique archive. Many of them have inhabited the studio for some time, available to serve as models on short notice. The paintings often depict these objects, although depict probably isn’t quite right. It’s more like a conversation is underway, an exchange between past and present, between the tangible objects and paint, between disparate shapes and materials and an orderly statement, a work.

And in the end, in the work we’re seeing on the wall, the separate paintings, don’t really work like words in a sentence at all, but perhaps more like entries in a journal, or stills from a film—from several films, or better yet, like terse aphorisms—sayings—short and cryptic, funny, wise or strange by turns. What they have in common is someone, a consciousness, a memory, a set of criteria—someone at the helm, making the decisions. And it is not difficult to recognize in the choices, the ambiguities, the apparent leaps in time, the odd repetitions, a distinct “voice”. It’s the voice of someone rather like us, someone who, as a citizen of the present, is constantly confronted with vast numbers of images and texts, depicted spaces and recorded words. It’s someone concerned with the way we negotiate the issues: the need to let most of this flood of images, texts and sounds flow past, the difficulty in explaining, in any logical way, why you remember certain things and not others, why the specific look or light in one space just stays with you.

Dr. Nancy Roth, Independent Writer & Translator

 

About Peter Webster

Peter

Born Leeds, Yorkshire 1951

1987–2012:
Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, University College Falmouth

2013 (continuing):
Visiting Lecturer at Falmouth University & West Dean College, Sussex

 

Exhibitions

1974:
John Moores 9—Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

1975:
Work by Postgraduates—Reading University

1981:
One-person show—New Gallery, Hornsey, London
Paperworks—Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth
10 Young Artists—Lauderdale House, London
One-person show—Arcade Gallery, Harrogate

1982:
London Group, Camden Arts Centre
Penwith Gallery St Ives
Gardner Centre for the Arts, University of Sussex

1983:
One-person show—Crescent Art Gallery, Scarborough
Chisenhale Open Studios, London
One-person show—Hull University
100 Artists—The Showroom, London

1984:
Whitechapel Open, London

1985:
St Paul’s Gallery, Leeds
Art for Offices—Wapping, London

1986:
Whitechapel Open, London
Artspace, Islington, London
Harrogate International Festival

1992:
Sept Artistes Celtes a Kerjean—Brittany

1993:
Demarco’s Choice—Newlyn Art Gallery

1994:
The Bloodshot Eye—The Gallery in Cork Street, London
Midland Arts Centre, Birmingham
Plymouth Arts Centre
Hotbath Gallery, Bath

1995:
Contemporary Art Market—Royal Festival Hall, London

1996:
Critic’s Choice (Sacha Craddock)—Newlyn Art Gallery

1996-97:
Absolut Secret—Royal College of Art, London

1997:
Drury Lane Gallery, London

1998:
Selected Artists—Royal West of England Academy, Bristol

1999:
Critic’s Choice (William Packer)—Newlyn Art Gallery
Cornish Art Contemporary Works—Beatrice Royal Gallery, Southampton
Japanese Connections—Falmouth College of Arts Gallery
Untitled 5—Falmouth College of Arts Gallery

2001:
Bishop Philpot’s Gallery, Truro
Brilliant Corners—Newlyn Art Gallery

2002:
Hunting Art Prizes—Royal College of Art, London
Chiaroscuro Arte en Vallico—Tuscany, Italy

2004:
Bristol 152 Autumn Exhibition—Royal West of England Academy

2005:
NSA Exhibition—Thompson’s The City Gallery, London

2005:
Open Painting—Royal West of England Academy, Bristol

2007:
Lineage—selected NSA exhibition Newlyn Art Gallery/Penlee House Museum

2008:
Staff Show—University College Falmouth

2008:
The Drawing Show, Exchange Gallery, Penzance

2009:
A Cornish Perspective—Royal West of England Academy, Bristol

2010:
Reality CheckNewlyn Art Gallery

2012:
New Light on NewlynPlymouth City Museum & Art Gallery

2013/14:
Thirty PaintingsNewlyn Art Gallery

2014:
Open WestWilson Art Gallery, Cheltenham

2015:
NSA 293—Penwith Gallery, St Ives

 

Articles and Publications

1982:
Peter Webster article by Ken Rowat, The Guardian

1996:
Drawing Towards The End of a Century, NSA Publications

2002:
ARTNSA, NSA Publications
Catching the Wave—Contemporary Art & Artists in Cornwall by Tom Cross , published by Halsgrove

2013:
Peter Webster Thirty Paintings, essay by Nancy Roth, published by Newlyn Art Gallery