Peter James Smith’s exhibition Navigator combines science and art, history and perception, location and event.
The duality at the centre of Smith’s work is fundamental to the character of it. He uses the paradox of contradiction to forge intellectual, emotional and visual connections.
The South Island landscape – Central Otago and Fiordland, in particular – has constituted a major subject focus in Smith’s works for a considerable period. In these works he is examining notions of the sublime, romanticised landscape while utilising a visual language that involves mathematical symbols and/or hand-written text that is strongly suggestive of graffiti or writing on a blackboard.
By “challenging the boundary between pictorial representation and abstraction” Smith is combining “orders of thought and experience.” The results are both true to the place while enabling various entry points through the images and the words.
Peter James Smith is ‘charting’ a direction that no other New Zealand artist has. These works are painterly in character while calling up the human realm of experience and scientific thought as amplification of this.