exhibition painting

Negotiations and Meditations, Wollongong City Gallery

12_05 series 5, acrylic on canvas, 107 X 122 cm, 2005

installation at Wollomgong City Gallery

Paris in paint, published in the Illawarra Mercury, august 9, 2008  with KILMENY ADIE

Robertson artist Peter De Lorenzo finds creative inspiration in the City of Lights. Works include (from top) 0705 acrylic on canvas, March 08 and 1205 (both acrylic and oil on canvas). Some head to Paris for romance but Robertson artist Peter De Lorenzo finds creative inspiration in the City of Lights. De Lorenzo has travelled to France four times and each time the memorable capital city has renewed his artistic enthusasism. His first visit was on a scholarship for the Cite Internationale des Arts after he completed art school at the East Sydney Tech in the late 1970s. ‘‘That was like I finished art school, then there was the scholarship and Paris for six months. Wow. It was a total buzz and I made these paintings that were abstract paintings,’’ De Lorenzo says of the experience. ‘‘When I go I look at the paintings that influenced me when I was first a student there. ‘‘There’s particular paintings, like (Wassily) Kandinsky’s … that had such an influence on me.’’ His paintings after his first Paris experience were large pieces, some were long and narrow and all based their use of colour on musical ideas. Now the 56-year-old is celebrating the continued influence of his French connection on his paintings in his latest exhibition Negotiations and Meditations, which opened at the Wollongong City Gallery recently. The exhibition was three years in the making and followed De Lorenzo’s most recent trip to Paris four years ago. ‘‘Art always relates to me when I go to Paris,’’ he says. ‘‘Somehow I just reconnect with all those sorts of (abstract) ideas. It gets me going that way. It’s wonderful.’’

Perhaps even more importantly for De Lorenzo, the exhibition reminds those familiar with his works of his painting skills. In more recent years, De Lorenzo has become known for his digital media works. This is partly due to his work at Wollongong TAFE where he is head teacher of the digital media department. ‘‘I have always worked in the two areas since art school. I guess I’m more known here now for the digital works and the film-making works,’’ he says. ‘‘I thought well, it’s time that I hoisted the flag for the other thing that I have always done in the background. ‘‘I suppose that’s where I do my thinking. ‘‘It’s quiet time in the studio and you don’t need electricity for it. Getting away from computers is quite good.’’ De Lorenzo says when he heads to his studio he is often reminded of a quote from the painter Phillip Guston who said everyone else – and him mentally – had to leave the room before he could begin work. ‘‘I think that’s so true because I go into my studio after a busy week and it’s like I’m arguing with everybody in my head,’’ he says. ‘‘I think, ‘why am I worrying about this or that issue?’. ‘‘Finally, when I finish doing that I can actually start working.’’

In this exhibition, De Lorenzo says his works continue an exploration of abstract art with a musical flavour. His interest in music comes from his Viennese mother, the violin lessons he had as a child and artists like Kandinsky, who were known to work to music. ‘‘Even though the paintings are like grids when you look at them closely you see they’re all hand-drawn, handpainted and the little divisions between them are shifted,’’ he says. ‘‘Sometimes they get rubbed out and moved across. ‘‘But they’re also like musical compositions. It’s quite meditative. It’s my sanity.’’

Peter De Lorenzo: Negotiations and Meditations – Paintings of tranquillity in which a rational mathematical sequence is used to orchestrate the play of light, dark and colour. Wollongong