Madeleine Peters (b. 1990) paints the landscape in geological time. She is intrigued by the area inland near Warrnambool on Victoria’s south-west coast. Phases of volcanic activity have formed crater lakes there called maar. Peters understands landscape as constantly changing, not static. A local would recognise the terrain, but each image is generated through an in-motion collection of visions recollected, sketched and layered. This is quite different to the approach of the plein air artist who might pitch an easel on the land like a flag to claim the view. Peters’ painting is more an experiential record, a document from walking the ground.
Peters choreographs light sources across her plane of vision, some astral in origin, some industrial. The light sources suggest inner workings and unknown activity at a distance. At dusk, landforms claim their monolithic status – the drape of night both conceals and reveals. Some of the work captures an understanding of landscape as gathered from a train window with the repeated flashes of a vista conflated to form a vision that sits at no specific time.
The application of oil paint is striated and sedimented, forming shadowy surface accretions. Her treatment of rock surfaces at times suggests human figuration, revealing an understanding of the body and portraiture. The works in this show are an evocation of a specific place, a site of crater lakes and exposed volcanic rocks, cinder-like scoria with curious brown black or purple-red hues. These have been animated through flashes of spatial memory. Embedded within the work is an expansive notion of time traced through the geological record.
Madeleine Peters grew up in Warrnambool and began studying her BFA in painting at RMIT, Melbourne and has continued her studies at Victorian College of the Arts. She is a two-time winner of the Warrnibald Portrait Prize, a finalist in the Len Fox Painting Award and has been active curating and exhibiting in the south-west region of Victoria. This is her first solo show at The Egg & Dart.