“Art does not reproduce the visible but makes visible” Paul Klee
Painting and drawing have always been the mainstay of my art practice, providing the means to explore the diverse aspects of the world in which we exist. From a background in observational and figurative drawing my work has moved towards abstraction and intuitive responses to materials and place. Since 2008 I have focused my research on the use, formation, history and ecological implications of gathered materials, in particular earth pigments from Devon and Cornwall.
All works are for sale unless otherwise indicated. Please contact me for further details.
We have all been affected by the global Covid-19 pandemic. Whether this has been through changes to our lifestyle, our jobs and financial circumstances, our health (both physical and emotional), through loss (of loved ones or strangers) or to the highly visceral environmental ramifications lockdown has had, we have experienced something deeply transformational. Personally, I have been safe and well in this relatively sparsely populated coastal area of southwest England and have taken full advantage of the space to respond creatively to the "unprecedented" situation. I have got to know the transient beauty of Nature around my home more deeply through walking and cycling regularly, while also keeping up to date with the ever shifting existential global drama through media coverage. This body of work, primarily painted and drawn using local Cornish earth pigments on a variety of salvaged, found and repurposed surfaces, is just part of my creative output during this time. The pieces represent intuitive conversations between myself, the materials and the uncertainty manifested by the ongoing global and local situation...
"just when you think it is over, when all is at an end, the tempest rises, the forces of creation stir, we are anew..." A 5th body of work inspired and created using pigments gathered and processed from remnants of Cornwall’s historic mining industries, including new experimental work firing pigments on clay tiles...
“masters of provenance touch the halls walls floors in time to waves breaking atop a dead, black volcano” . A 4th body of work inspired and created using pigments gathered and processed from remnants of Cornwall’s historic mining industries. These paintings were made during a 6-week tenancy of the prestigious Studio 5 at Porthmeor Studio in St Ives
“I find sadness and loss hanging from the rafters of a small house the witch heals a black cat turning to white” A 3rd body of work inspired and created using pigments gathered and processed from remnants of Cornwall’s historic mining industries.
“among stones the birds call we have been here before and long to be” A 2nd body of work inspired and created using pigments gathered and processed from remnants of Cornwall’s historic mining industries.
“in mist and wind and rain at the end and beginning of all where feet of ancients have trod and toiled is colour and substance of life to feed and foster souls…” A body of work inspired and created using pigments gathered and processed from remnants of Cornwall’s historic mining industries. While the colours appear similar to those gathered in North Devon, and indeed to many earth pigments from around the world, the nature of their formation, extraction, chemistry, processing and hence creative response is somewhat different and unique, reflecting the special character of this extreme south western tip of the UK.
"I am no longer sure of what I am doing. But then, quite simply, I am painting. I am putting together objects from materials that I gather locally, here in North Devon. Materials that are significant to me. That have stories to tell. That connect me to this place and to my being. The objects created are celebrations of this life. They are explorations. Simple, intuitive journeys of making in the here and now…" Peter Ward has spent the last nine years researching the geology, history and uses of the rich earth pigments to be found in North Devon and the West Country. The use of such materials has allowed Peter’s work to develop in response to the processes and provenance offered by the materials themselves, their discovery and collection and the practicalities of paint making, through simple mark-making and a limited but environmentally defined colour palette.
BIG DRAWING, exploring the physical and site specific aspects of drawing in relation to events and the photographic means of recording such... SIGHT LINES, the use of physical visual devices to explore and question our perception and visual relationship to environmental space... BIDEFORD BLACK, a site specific painted celebratory intervention at the geological source of this unique local pigment... SCIENCE, exploring the sculptural and artistic application of scientific/ecological methods of observation and enquiry within the environment for both educational and visual ends... QUADRAT, a 2 day site specific dance art installation residency as part of the Appledore Visual Arts festival 2010, as a response to rocky shore ecology field study...
and CHANGE... this change of circumstance; a new outlook. THE SEA, THE SEA; no urban facade, this coming HOME, to spray, to wind and rhythmic TRANCE. to SCRATCH the surface of all things... “the common limpet (patella vulgata) has but one home, one safe space upon its rocky shore whereon to perch, where upon it doth return at low tides sea-less state and seals itself 'til seas return and living out its fate." A continuing body of work looking at the root of drawing for inspiration safe in the knowledge that we are all coming home... I have been fascinated by the energy of nature, by the sparkling, rhythmic elements of motion, by prana; the dots and lines of moments in my eyes when I look to the sea, when I am quiet inside, to see the ethereal nature of life... we TOUCH the Earth the world beneath and around us , we see ourselves within it all from a DISTANCE.
a response through contemporary art. In association with the previous body of work, EARTH, as a contrast and an educational progression, this becomes a celebration of everyday technology for the happy conclusion of NOW this moment. We have been taken to the base point, the starting point, the end point and the SPACE between in ORDER 2 Create... This body of work expresses an artists’ need to respond, through their desired medium of communication, to the personal experience of the death of a loved one. Through rhythm and reason, and delicacy and breath and simple discoveries we may reach a place of peace to gain a renewed perspective on our immediate ecology. It would be good to think that the therapeutic nature found in producing the work could be communicated through the visual consumption of the same…
The use of locally discovered pigments has brought my work intimately in touch with the idea of ‘artistic process’; from gathering the materials and mixing and creating my own paints, to producing images alive with the deep resonance of the natural world. The work explores the spiritual and visual implications of quantum theory drawing parallels with the imagery and intentions of aboriginal cultures from across the world.
A body of work created upon my return to the UK exploring my relationship with the landscape, culture and contemporary heritage of North Devon, an area I have known since childhood.
“My work is concerned with and inspired by nature … of our interconnectedness with the natural world; its animals, rocks and plants; the sacred and the spiritual; the beautiful and the mystical … which we may all enjoy if we open ourselves to the wholeness of our being.” Paintings and drawings made while living close to Nature in Co Clare, West Ireland.
This folio shows my early work, expressing responses to personal events and places, exploring the symbolism of earth spirituality.