As colour perception has its 15 minutes of internet fame with that dress, artist Gary Peters launches The Colour of Courtenay Place – a series of 16 bold, urban monochrome works, which encourage us to look more closely at the space and colour around us.
Unlike that dress, there’s no confusing the colours in Wellington’s Courtenay Place.
The Colour of Courtenay Place is the first large-scale public artwork for Peters, taking his colourful work out of the studios and galleries and onto the streets.
“Standing in front of the light boxes at different times of day and night, I took photos of what I could see around them. Certain colours would catch my eye. From these photos I picked a colour to create the digital file and send to the printer to create the final monochrome,” says Peters.
“Because of the different processes involved, there’s an uncontrollable slippage between the colour I see, the colour the camera captures, and the final printed colour. The colours look different again depending on weather conditions and time of day.”
This response to the surrounding environment is a key thread in Peters’ art-making – whether it’s creating painting-objects to the same size and dimension of the vents in his studio or, as he did in his artwork for the Parkin Drawing Prize, creating a mirror image work of the access door in the gallery wall.
Peters encourages us to look again at our environment, to pause for a moment and notice the details we normally overlook. These slabs of colour, devoid of text and advertising, offer us a visual pause in the busyness of the strip, and invite us to take a moment and be curious about looking at the space we inhabit.
“A friend visiting New Zealand described the colour as if ‘it had been turned up to 11’. After years in the UK, with its soft light and myriad of greys, I knew exactly what he meant. I think my growing up with the subtleties of those soft English greys effects how I see and use colour in my work today.”
English-born, Gary Peters is an award-winning Wellington-based artist who has lived in New Zealand for nine years. He has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally and has taken part in several residencies, including six-months at Sydney Non-Objective Contemporary Art Projects.
Represented by Paul Nache Gallery, Peters has works in public and private collections including the Council’s City Art Collection and the James Wallace Collection. He also writes for Artists Alliance and is a trustee for Enjoy Public Art Gallery here in Wellington.
The Colour of Courtenay Place is in-situ from 7 April to 31 July in the Courtenay Place Park Light Boxes to brighten your day – proudly supported by Wellington City Council.