Peter Booth Painting 1977 Essay

Summary: The art "Painting 1977" by Peter Booth is an example of post-modernism art in Australia. The visual style of the work is described and its symbolism portrays humanity in a state of darkness, spiritual turmoil, loneliness and isolation while maintaining the possiblity of hope.


The painting I wish to discuss is the artwork `Painting 1977' by artist Peter Booth. It was completed in 1978 and was 182.5cm by 304cm.

In the painting itself, many things are depicted. These include a man dressed in a coat, a white dog, a winding road, and some objects like trees, arrows, and countryside as well as large block like boulders. The man is walking down the road away from the boulders with objects appearing to float around him such as the dog and various shapes. The colours used are bright including blues and oranges. The piece was made using oil of a limited pallet on a canvas. Each piece of the artwork was made up of many drawings.

The visual design of the work is very symmetrical, with the main character, the man, very centralised and the background scattered around either side of him. The piece uses...

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Theme: Encounters

Artist: Peter BOOTH
Birth/Death: 1940

Title: Painting 1978

Credit Line: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Peter Booth became known for his black, minimal ‘doorway’ paintings of 1970–74. Yet by 1977 he had given up this style and begun to record the world of his dreams and nightmares in a series of apocalyptic, visionary landscapes. Booth’s paintings suggest that we are on the edge of another dark age. His paintings are brutal representations of his bleak dreams and fantasies. In an age of nuclear threat Booth’s work has a monumentality which is evocative of the final conflagration mentioned in The Book of Revelations.

Painting 1978, challenges and disturbs the viewer by the artist’s choice of colour and method of painting. The dramatic black and red, yellow and white composition suggests both an industrial and a natural wasteland. The heavy impasto paint texture describes, with vigour and intensity, flames, explosions, and unidentified nightmarish images. Contradictory forces pull us into the central inferno below the glacial mountain peaks, and showers of rock explode towards us.

Is it the artist himself who stands with his back to us, mesmerised by the scene, while grotesque metamorphosing figures stare out at us?



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