Peter Siddell


Homecoming by Peter Siddell

Artwork Detail

'Most of the time I paint what I know . . . usually from childhood recollections', says Peter Siddell who, as a boy, delivered newspapers in early-morning Auckland. The extreme clarity and detail of Siddell's paintings convince us that we are looking at a particular place - indeed we may be even familiar with this two-storied building and its distinctive cupola - but these places are filtered by memory. In spite of shifts in topography, we still recognise Auckland's terraced volcanic cones, 'strange monuments that speak of an older civilisation here', and the endless variations on the corrugated-iron-roofed wooden villa. Memory has a fundamental timelessness and the artist enhances this sense by rejecting narrative elements - there are no people, no distractions. Siddell's ambition is 'to achieve a stillness in my paintings. It's something to do with wanting to freeze a moment in time and regain a bit of the past'. As well as the view beyond the building we can also see inside, as if into a doll's house. Through the lace curtains and super-real reflections, we see other fragments of the past - formal photographs hung over ornate mantelpieces and iconic paintings from New Zealand's art history. Siddell is self-taught as an artist and demonstrates his practical familiarity with buildings (he was an electrician before he was a painter) when talking about his attention to detail and 'the tradesman's concern for things to be plumb and level'. (from The Guide, 2001)

Peter Siddell
Production date
acrylic on hardboard
1130 x 1486 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1977
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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