History, science, literature, over-drawn “graffiti” marks uniquely combined with celebration of the fundamental beauty of landscape, light, weather event and the spirit of human endeavour exist at the heart of Peter James Smith’s paintings.
Many of Smith’s works explicitly reference the significant journeys of navigators (whether Capt. Cook or the celestial pursuits of astronomers). Given this, it is a pun to state he has charted a direction that is increasingly idiosyncratic, assured and widely acclaimed yet there can be no doubt that Smith’s works go where few – if any - have gone before.
But equally true and apropos is that he directly sources the visual art tradition of the sublime landscape. He uses this aesthetic and philosophical discourse to assert that the powers of dream, imagination and wonder are central to all human endeavours. The overlays of annotated equations of science are direct explanations of what is being seen and felt.
Smith’s works have numerous intentions. His approach is essentially representational but the landscape being depicted is delivered as partial and therefore incomplete. The pictorial composition of each painting actively uses (an abstract sense of) black space, and utilises the viewer’s imagination with overdrawn words and equations sitting in the front space of each painting: consequently each work is a window to the landscape, the event and to knowledge.
These paintings are not simply beautiful or delivered with remarkable deftness and astonishing skill they become captured moments of awe and wonder whilst reaching across and collapsing time.