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installation

Pete Wheeler is back. Five years ago he left Christchurch after completing an MFA at Ilam, to live and work full-time as a painter in Berlin. Busy as Hell is his first show in New Zealand since, and as the moniker suggests, Wheeler has been exactly that...


Busy As Hell

March 18 - April 12, 2014

 
 
All things beautiful
 
...Quite naturally, Wheeler's work has evolved in the time away. He departed New Zealand as an oil painter of boyish subjects, often larger than life and generous of brushstroke (see All Bets Are Off http://jonathansmartgallery.com/content/view/123/38/). In these paintings there is now a much broader range of materiality, and a richness, a variety of surface greater than Wheeler has achieved before. Pigment is mixed into moulding wax, layered over photographic emulsion, gilded and then eaten into by chlorides, sometimes all in the one work!

Gets you right down to your soulIn Gets you right down to your soul, a harlequin-like figure stands in a dark ground. His dry-brushed features and colourful clothing are light touches alongside areas of raw linen. The background by contrast is a marvellously layered dark violet expanse wrought in wax, and then scratched and abraided with white. This is a worked surface full of history. Figure and ground merge easily through whites and reds around the winged hat and head. It is a very handsome painting, soft and bruisingly assertive at the same time.

All Things Beautiful (pictured top) is also a tour de force. White pigment and wax delicately describe the head, arms and curiously elongated feet of a prone figure. A death-like aura hovers just above the figure. Then our eye is taken diagonally out into the scumbled darkness by flecks of pigment, yellow and orange brushed into the painting’s black waxen skin.
 
Unadorned clay pots of ordinary livesThere is also no avoiding the raw and assertive orange in Unadorned Clay Pots of Ordinary Lives. It pushes in from the right, a solid match for the gold that is otherwise around the head. The head however, is almost drained of definition, its features channelled into rivers of blue chloride that flow down the shoulders out to the bottom of the painting. Visually, the effect is almost byzantine in intensity. Psychologically, the feeling is both eerie and powerful.
 
Fresh from a show in Cologne, it is wonderful to have Pete Wheeler back. And his next gig in New Zealand is already in the diary: a major show at Pah Homestead – James Wallace’s Gallery in Onehunga, Auckland – that opens early December this year.
 
 
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Selected works


Who is this who darkens counsel
Who is this who darkens counsel? 

 

All things work together for good
All things work together for good

 

Gets you right down to your soul
Gets you right down to your soul

 

Who will save you
Who will save you

 

Unadorned clay pots of ordinary lives
Unadorned clay pots of ordinary lives

 

Leviathan
Leviathan

 

Details of works

Who is this who darkens counsel?   2014  
Pigment, emulsion, gold leaf, wax & patina on linen  2000 x 1500mm  $12,000

All things work together for good  2013
Emulsion, pigment & wax on linen  1700 x 1200mm  $10,000

Gets you right down to your soul  2013 
Pigment, wax & oil stick on linen  2000 x 1500mm  $14,000

Who will save you  2014 
Emulsion & chloride on linen  1700 x 1200mm  $10,000

Unadorned clay pots of ordinary lives  2014 
Pigment, emulsion, gold leaf, chloride & wax on linen  1000 x 800mm  $6500

Leviathan  2012 
Oil on linen  2200 x 1700mm  $16,000

All things beautiful  2013 
Pigment & wax on linen  1800 x 2300mm  $18,000

Untitled works on cotton rag  2014
Unframed  760 x 580mm  $2500
Framed  850 x 640mm  $2800

Prices include GST