King Street Gallery on William

Peter O'Doherty

In Conversation

29 May - 23 June 2012

The more one listens to the soft, muffled language of Peter O’Doherty’s painting, the simpler things become. Gone are the primary colours, the noise, the hard edges. Gone are the people and the brusque civilian violence of interaction. Instead, here are whispers of memory, made new again in a deliberate exploration of structure and form. O’Doherty looks just beyond the obvious and the figurative for a deeper connection. He removes life’s sharp focus to better show us the truth hidden in a blurred background; found in an oblique glimpse of the everyday.

In this conversation, O’Doherty is a very good listener, intent to hear something from within himself. The artist wrestles with the difficult relationship between subject matter and process; colour and composition. Certainly the 1950s and 60s aesthetic is not a new theme, and these streetscapes and objects belong to both yesterday and today. But in these distilled and complex portraits, O’Doherty expresses a less complicated sensibility, rephrasing each subject in his very modern lexicon.

– Maree Coote, 2012
Author of: The Art of Being Melbourne 2012
The Melbourne Book – A History of Now 2003; 2008; 2010.