Peter Daverington is an artist of considerable ability. With a painting practice that draws from a broad range of ideas and art historical periods, Daverington is able to ever-so-deftly juggle vastly disparate approaches into a cohesive and compelling whole. Yet interestingly enough – and clearly visible in his work – Peter’s brush with the Classicism of Western Art was born not from the High Alters of the Medieval Cathedral but from his graffiti art. Peter works from the street, up to the Heavens.
The April 2020 Michael Reid Sydney exhibition, ‘Work to the Finish’, illuminated a series of paintings based on The Birth of Venus (a Naissance de Vénus) a master work by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. It was painted in 1879, and is now in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
“I have used the painting as a compositional foundation to create various iterations on the original. Exploring surface and finish I have employed erasure and graffiti to degrade the slick finish of the original to explore various tropes of contemporary painting. I have always admired Bouguereau’s incomparable ability to create highly finished painting surfaces but have also been at odds with the overtly romantic aesthetic of his pictures. Both enthralled and appalled but they never departed my mind. I am aware of the fact that his subject of idealised classical women and the abundant use of cherubs or putti is anathema to contemporary art and taste. It is therefore of interest to me because of how out of sync the images are to contemporary culture. This represents a challenge for me to explore aesthetics and the shifting tastes of art and culture.” – Peter Daverington
Here, in our Discovery section, we present a handful of works from this remarkable exhibition. If you would like to find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org