Peter Boggs

With a career spanning nearly forty years, Peter Boggs has honed a visual language that unveils the secret and forgotten aspects of fast diminishing rural urban landscapes. Referencing the mysteries of Italian Renaissance Gardens – most notably the Boboli Gardens in Florence – his tonal paintings evoke that which is felt as much as that which is seen.

Boggs’ practice is largely inspired by Giorgio Morandi, Edward Hopper, and Macchiaioli painters such as Guiseppe Abbati, Odoardo Borrani, Vito D’Ancona and Giovanni Fattori, as well as his teacher in New Zealand Colin McCahon. From these artists he siphons an enduring engagement with light, exploring its profound currency of symbolism. ‘The mysterious quality of light and all that it offers is one of the cornerstones of my work’, says Boggs, ‘My interest is in atmospheres and tones, not the exactitude of things. It’s more allegorical than anything illustrative or descriptive; more the idea of place so as to conjure the experience of it’. His dream-like paintings, rendered with soft brushwork and muted hues, capture specific places through the haze of memory. A stillness and quietude settles on these scenes, as if they have fossilised in time. Boggs explains, ‘The locations in my work exist but I’m more interested in conveying a place through memory and feeling. The subject becomes more of a prop around which contemplation can occur rather than a thing in itself.’

Whilst the artist has historically expressed the universal, rather than the particular, a few paintings in his current show at Maunsell Wickes are exceptions to this. A group of four works based on the forecourt of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence are the result of visiting the Pitti thirty years ago on his first visit to Florence. The forecourt is the entrance to the Boboli Gardens, through which Boggs has walked through many times since. The Boboli has become a key element of his work. ‘I’ve always wanted to do something with this subject, but exactly how, eluded me. This year seemed the year to try to make something of it’. He continues, ‘By necessity though, these four paintings required a more literal interpretation and though somewhat more academic in approach than normal for me, light and its effect within the power of this architectural marvel of the Renaissance, is palpable. Just an example of a slightly different approach in a very different year.’

Peter Boggs: Collectors Choice
17–29 November 2020
Maunsell Wickes, Sydney

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