Peter Nicholls


15 March 2008 - 15 June 2008

Peter Nicholls has been an artist of the journey for more than forty years. His sculpture has embodied and celebrated not only an ongoing process of investigation and discovery but also the flow of rivers, the making of roads and the journeys made by people, in and with the land, towards ecological balance and cultural tolerance.

Nicholls likens his artistic practice to ‘exploring the many tributaries of a river’, while the central flow of his work traces the relationship and essential energy exchange between people and the land. Overall, he seeks out and expresses what he calls ‘a will towards connection’ and ‘a gentle sensibility towards the earth’.

Creating new life from discards, Nicholls often works with fallen and river-borne wood or broken tool parts. In New Land XI, he embeds his own axe handle into a worn wooden sleeper, along with an unused scythe blade to symbolise a cycle of work completed, tranquillity and rest. And in Musa, he transforms two steel ore-crusher mantles into an ancient life-giving chalice.

As Nicholls says, ‘My work seeks to relate humans to nature. It can cause people to pause and reconsider their use of space and resources and, by implication, their impact on the land.’ His work is especially relevant today as our native forest disappears, waterways are subverted and the priorities of industrial ‘progress’ overshadow attempts to conserve valuable resources.

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