Abstract Australis
Abstract Australis
Brighton, Victoria 3186 Australia
Ph: 0407 501 808
ABN: 66 086 690 771
[email protected]

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Peter D. COLE (b.1947)

“Peter D. Cole is an artist living in the country, but with an urban point of view. From within the confines of his studio he has looked at the raw Australian bush and produced a series of works in which nature is      tamed and civilized. No other Australian sculptor has been able to transform the untidy bush into such pure visual poetry.”*

Peter D Cole (1947-) completed a Diploma in Fine Art (Sculpture) at the South Australian School of Art in 1968, and in the same year was awarded the HP Gill medal (South Australian School of Art) and the Contemporary Art Society Drawing Prize (Adelaide).  Cole moved to Melbourne in 1970, and since then has enjoyed over twenty successful solo exhibitions and has been included in the Mildura Sculpture Triennial (1970, 1985 and 1988), the Australian Sculpture Triennial, Melbourne (1981, 1984 and 1990) and the National Sculpture Prize (National Gallery of Australia, Canberra) in 2003.  Cole has completed major sculpture commissions including Foundation Park, The Rocks, Sydney for which he was awarded the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects Award for Merit (1995), and the Australian National Trust Heritage Award (1996).  Cole lives in Langley, near Kyneton in central Victoria.

Cole’s imagery is drawn from the landscape around his home in regional Victoria.  This relationship to the land combined with Cole’s intellectual fascination with modernist art has resulted in the emergence of a distinct array of visual symbols that recur throughout his oeuvre.  This visual language forged comprises small colourful circles (the stars), crescent moon shapes, bold yellow circles (the sun), rippling, blue lines (water) and other recognisable forms such as trees and rocks. Cole’s ‘landscapes’ are emphatically of the twentieth century, and he is careful to situate his practice within a broader international context or modernist vocabulary pioneered by artists such as Joan Miro (1893-1983)), Alexander Calder (1898-1976) and Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966).  Importantly, though Cole lives and works within the iconic Australian bush, he views the landscape through “the eyes of a civilized, urban man who knows his art history.  He may live in the country (and is certainly sensitive to the magic of the stars and the joys of the seasons), but he puts nature on a stage to be viewed by a well-read, sophisticated audience.”**

Cole’s predominant use of primary colours such as red, yellow and blue further cements his relationship to international modernist ideals/cannon.  The Australian landscape is not celebrated for its vibrant palette, and in-so-doing Cole encourages his audience to read the work in purely sculptural terms, processing colour, balance, form, composition, surface and positive and negative space.  “While his use of colour is deliberately seductive (we are drawn to it like bees to flowers or like children to brightly coloured toys), it is also archetypal.”***  These colourful symbols are then linked using linear rods which guide the viewer towards new associations and connections, in the same way the viewer reads a sparsely populated landscape.

Cole’s visual language has been explored in both the two-dimensional and three-dimensional realms, seamlessly traversing any terrain, profoundly beautiful in any guise. Today, Cole is celebrated for his enormous achievements in Australian art across five decades and an oeuvre comprising sculpture, painting, drawing, printmaking, design and architecture.

*  Ken Scarlett cited in ‘Peter D. Cole: Civilizing the Bush’,  Sculpture,  Vol.18,  No.7,  September 1999,  np.

**  Ken Scarlett cited in ‘Peter D. Cole: Civilizing the Bush’,  Sculpture,  Vol.18,  No.7,  September 1999,  np.

*** Buckley, John et al,  Peter D Cole, Landscape Studio Space Form, Recent Sculptures and Drawings 1996-1998,  p.3

Please see Artist CV attached below. 


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