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Peter Cleverley: Never There Yet

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RDS Gallery

“Peter Cleverley: Never There Yet”
RDS Gallery, 6 Castle Street
29 October–20 November 2021
Wednesday–Friday, 11am–5pm; Saturday 11am–1 pm.

Peter Cleverley has secured himself a place in the history of New Zealand art: for over forty years he has been painting in his native Oamaru. He continues to create in a tiny studio located in Kakanui, whose variegated skies, blue seas and "horseshoe bluff" mark his work, providing, along with his many travels, "the matrix" for his art, in the words of Hal Smith, writing for ART NEW ZEALAND in 1988. Peter Cleverley is indeed a regional artist in the sense that he is of the region, “a product of our own patch of earth,” again from Hal Smith. His concerns are, nonetheless, global, as he continues to explore what he calls "the human condition" in all its complexities. His current exhibition “Never There Yet” (29 October–20 November 2021) revolves around the theme of dislocation in the contemporary world, arising in response to “the legacy of several centuries of imperialism and of the increasing mobility of people around the globe” as Alistair Fox puts it. Similarly, Heather Bauchop describes “the lone figures” in Peter Cleverley’s current paintings as “displaced…they stand, indeterminate, translucent, above the void.” These unfamiliar images refuse categorisation, having more in common with each other than with any external references. They serve to evoke the poignant, unresolved emotional realities experienced by dislocated individuals who must rely on the mercies of an indifferent universe.

Peter Cleverley, “Am I standing in the right place?,” 2021, gouache and water colour on Arches paper, 170 X 400 mm.
Peter Cleverley, “never there yet,” 2021, oil on canvas, 1220 x 1220 mm.
Peter Cleverley, “The Edge of the World,” 2021, gouache & water colour on d.a.s 300gsm paper, 285 x 370 mm.
Peter Cleverley, “Ginger Baker in the Maniototo,” 2020, gouache & water colour on d.a.s 300gsm paper, 285 x 370 mm.
Peter Cleverley, "The Sea Walker, 2021, oil on board, 290 x 290mm.

Bauchop, Heather. “Getting There”––a Visit with Peter Cleverley,” in PETER CLEVERLEY: NEVER THERE YET, edited by Alistair Fox, and Hilary Radner, 1–8. Dunedin: RDS Gallery, 2021.
Fox, Alistair. “Traversing the Space In-Between: Peter Cleverley’s Art of Translocation” in PETER CLEVERLEY: NEVER THERE YET, edited by Alistair Fox, and Hilary Radner, 9–12. Dunedin: RDS Gallery, 2021.
Smith, Hal. “Peter Cleverley,” ART NEW ZEALAND 47 (Winter 1988): 72–75.

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