Peter Lewis

I found immersion in the world of the imagination to be more captivating than learning maths on a hot summer afternoon.

Bio

I have been mutating, mutilating and reconfiguring popular culture and its images since 1990. Much to the consternation of my mother, more than one school report observed that I was "off in a world of my own". To be frank I found immersion in the world of the imagination to be more captivating than learning maths on a hot summer afternoon, and I still feel that way now. My work is all about other worlds and realities; I'm very interested in what these might be like. I also have an enduring interest in the world of dreams and how they can be self-contained yet also be populated with characters and objects from waking life. The untethered mind will come up with some crazy recipes using familiar ingredients! I try to translate this into my work by taking familiar images and recontextualising them, placing them in new environments to give them the suggestion of symbolic significance. The result has been described as "a mixed-up world of meaning and non-meaning". The viewer is encouraged to find their own interpretation of each piece. Another key theme of my work is layers: literal layers of images cut and pasted into the collages themselves, as well as layers of meaning - on one level they are mandala-like patterns of images, on another level an amusing and /or cute picture, and one another level sometimes a wry social commentary. I like to think that viewers can appreciate my work on any or all of these levels, and I try to pack them with lots of detail to reward careful and patient inspection. Examples of this include a clown and a kitten driving a moon buggy, Jesus dribbling strawberries like basketballs, and Abraham Lincoln's head on a duck (a deliberate nod to the artist Mark Ryden). I’m very much inspired by Stephen Biesty's "Cross Sections" books, which were packed with a wealth of intricate detail that I spent many happy hours poring over as a kid. My work has been featured on CD covers in New Zealand, the US and the UK. I have been profiled in San Francisco art magazine Churn and New York art / fashion magazine Fifth Avenue. I have exhibited pieces throughout New Zealand, in Germany and Sweden, and briefly – and very much unofficially – beside an Andy Warhol piece at the Museum Of Modern Art in New York. In January 2010, I was profiled by NZ arts show 'The Gravy' for their episode entitled "Time Travel / Future Worlds ". You can watch the clip here. A selection of my work was included in the book "Masters: Collage. Major Works by Leading Artists" published by US art publisher Lark Books in June 2010. In 2013 I was fortunate enough to travel to the US for a couple of exhibitions: in Portland Oregon, with Seattle collagist Marty Gordon, and with the legendary Winston Smith in San Francisco! It really was a dream come true and I couldn't have done it without the support of my friends and family who contributed to my trip via crowdfunding site Indiegogo.

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    • Photo of

      Peter Lewis

      This World Is Your Oyster

      $500.00

      The usual expression is “the world is your oyster” but I deliberately altered it to imply more than one world.

      Paper collage on canvas.
      405 x 205 x 35mm

    • Photo of

      Peter Lewis

      Bumblebaa

      $400.00

      A collaboration with my son Dali.

      Paper collage on canvas.
      405mm x 200mm

    • Photo of

      Peter Lewis

      Sea Of Tranquility

      $700.00

      Ganesha, space, and symmetry – these are a few of my favourite things.

      Paper collage on canvas.
      250mm x 505mm

    • Photo of

      Peter Lewis

      One Night In Portland

      $700.00

      Based on a true story.

      Paper collage on canvas.
      615mm x 150mm

    • Photo of

      Peter Lewis

      To Infinity And Beyond

      $700.00

      The fascination with space that I have had since childhood continues unabated.

      Paper collage, glitter, silver stars on canvas.
      250mm x 505mm

    • Photo of

      Peter Lewis

      Counting The Beat[les]

      $400.00

      The untold adventures of popular insects.

      Paper collage on canvas.
      255mm x 255mm

    • Photo of

      Peter Lewis

      First We Take Manhattan

      $400.00

      Chaos reigns in a city under siege. Is Custer riding to the rescue or leading the attack?

      Paper collage on canvas.
      255mm x 255mm

    • Photo of

      Peter Lewis

      Don’t Let Your Cowboys Grow Up To Be Children

      $400.00

      Just another day on the wild wild west side of the moon.

      Paper collage on canvas.
      255mm x 255mm

    • Photo of

      Peter Lewis

      Rhapsody In Green

      $400.00

      There are simple ways to make beautiful music, and there are complicated ways to make beautiful music.

      Paper collage on canvas.

    • Photo of

      Peter Lewis

      Reach Out To The Stars

      $700.00

      A creation myth for the new millennium.

      Paper collage, glitter, silver stars on canvas.
      255mm x 505mm

    • Photo of

      Peter Lewis

      Travel Is Dangerous

      $500.00

      This piece is about pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. In 2013 I travelled to Portland for my first US show. It was a tremendous and life-changing experience, but also a bit scary – turbulence over the vast empty Pacific when you know you’re still 4 hours from land ain’t no fun – and I was consciously pushing myself out of my comfort zone every step of the way. That’s a good thing to do but it can be hard work for someone with hermitty tendencies who’d be just as happy pottering away in his studio at home.

      Paper collage on canvas.
      405mm x 305mm