New Zealand artist Peter Robinson was last seen at the IMA in 2005, exhibiting alongside Gordon Bennett in the exhibition Three Colours. There he offered his sceptical take on post-colonial art-and-identity politics. His recent work, however, leaves such issues behind, in what seems like an abruptly formalist about-face.
He has moved away from illustrating political, scientific, and philosophical ideas, and toward playing with materials and exploring the resulting poetic nuances. He’s been working with polystyrene—that mundane, everyday material of consumer excess. A non-biodegradable thermo-plastic, it cushions our electronic goods in transit and pollutes our foreshores. In Robinson’s work, it is also a sculptural material of infinite possibility—lightweight yet massive, able to fill large spaces yet also to articulate delicate forms. Robinson pursues multiple lines of inquiry, as if, given polystyrene’s association with disposability, any number of sculptural experiments could be explored, cast aside, and reworked. His work ranges from roughly hewn, lumpen forms to intricately carved, baroque ones. In our show Robinson continues his recent exploration of ‘the monolith’. In conjunction with Artspace, Sydney; supported by Creative New Zealand, University of Auckland, and Urban Art Projects, Brisbane.