Peter Booth exhibit revealed at Tarrawarra

Tarrawarra Museum of Art has opened its summer exhibit showcasing renowned artist Peter Booth. PICTURES: SUPPLIED

By Renee Wood

Tarrawarra Museum of Art has opened its latest exhibition, showcasing Australian artist Peter Booth.

Viewers will be delighted to see works spanning from Booth’s early days in the 60s and 70s following through to some of his latest pieces finished this year.

This is the first major public gallery exhibition of Booth’s since the NGV retrospective show was held in 2003.

Curator Anthony Fitzpatrick said it’s great to introduce his work to a new generation.

“We felt after two decades, it’d be great to introduce his work to a new generation who might not be familiar with his practice but also to highlight that he’s continued to paint since that time,” he said.

The exhibit starts by showing his early works with abstraction flowing through to what he’s most known for today with his surrealism and figurative works.

Booth’s themes of the absurd and grotesque are striking with many works featuring figures on a journey through different dimensions of apocalyptic nature.

“In the 80s…the arms race was escalating between Russia and the US and there was that sort of lingering, overarching concern over what could happen and then, a lot of these hybrid figures emerge out of thinking about how humans might adapt to an altered sort of environment,” Fitzpatrick said.

“He uses this a tradition of the grotesque as a way to comment about human folly or human inner corruption.”

Later works strip away the absurdity and start to show a dystopian natural landscape with snow falling or a moment where the mangroves are growing tall as though proving the resilience of nature.

“When you stand in front of these large paintings, you become the figure in in the landscape in a sense that you create the narrative or you have a subjective response.

“When you stand before it could be an emotional response, it can be an imaginative response.”

With seeing Booth’s work in person also necessary in order to take in the scale and textures of his work.

Fitzpatrick said it’s so important to encounter them in person.

“He’s such an incredible painter and particularly in oils. He talks about oil paint being such a beautiful medium, it’s a pity to thin it down.

“The presence of that paint and when you stand in front of it, you really feel that energy that’s been invested in in the making of the work.”

“I really think it is… this idea that the viewer is someone who completes the work by that encounter with it, and everyone’s experience or response will be slightly or very different.”

The exhibit runs until 13 March 2023.