Peter Lange: Five Hard Pieces

This exhibition is now closed

For a number of years Peter Lange has occupied an idiosyncratic and highly individualistic role in the New Zealand art scene which has nothing to do with his famous brother. His ceramics are very distinctive and becoming well-known for their innovative, amusing and ironic edge. Last year Peter Lange was the Artist in Residence in the Craft Design Department of the Christchurch Polytechnic. However, as he is working chiefly from the Albany Pottery Auckland where the co-operative is now celebrating its first 20 years as a successful retail and gallery co-operative, his work is less frequently seen in the south.

Five Hard Pieces will feature recent works sponsored by a 1994 Arts Council grant which has given him the opportunity to explore new directions and consolidate old ones. This time he is turning his quizzical attention to New Zealand cultural icons and to important ceramic influences and techniques. He says, "As you know my work rarely touches on the Exuberant, the Expressive or the Elemental, but tends to wander into Irony and Illusion, and I enjoy dropping in local references and gently prodding ceramic sacred cows."

Included among the sacred cows to come under his attention this time is the amazing buried terracotta army of the ancient Chinese Emperor Qin Shihuang. Involved too is the seemingly endless cult of Elvis Presley which is linked to the repetitive nature of the slip casting process. Other works refer to McCahon, to Bernard Leach and to a ceramic version of the mecanno.

A delight to all those interested in the contemporary ceramic scene, this is a fascinating small show.

('Peter Lange: Five Hard Pieces', Bulletin, No.98, October/November 1995, p.1)