The work of Robert Gordon University’s first Graduate-in-Residence, Banchory artist Peter Chalmers, went on show to the public in an exhibition entitled ‘Back, Forward (Again)’ on Monday (January 30) at Gray’s School of Art.
Many of Peter’s paintings, created over the past year during his time in the school’s painting department, use the poem from the Bible’s Book of Genesis as a starting point and explore current beliefs within contemporary culture – inspired by his previous tenure as Artist-in-Residence at the American Church in Paris.
After graduating from Gray’s in 2007 with a first class Honours degree in painting, Peter, 26, travelled to Florence to study on a John Kinross Scholarship, awarded by The Royal Scottish Academy.
Returning to Britain, he settled in London before taking up the post in Paris for a year.
Often blurring the line between abstract and figurative painting, Peter’s work encourages the audience to pick out familiar elements.
“Working for a year within a church community compounded my interest in icons and the potential for that format within my work,” he said.
“The history of Western Art is almost inseparable from the story of Christianity yet in the last 50 years this relationship has changed significantly and has been increasingly seen as less relevant.
“I feel that many churches now are more akin to galleries and museums, as well as places of worship, as they hold significant historical artefacts.”
The Graduate-in-Residence scheme at Gray’s provides support to a recent graduate in the early stages of their career by providing them with important studio space and access to other resources such as workshops and IT facilities.
Allan Watson, head of fine art, said: “Gray’s introduced the scheme as a means of retaining its most talented graduates with the aim that they will continue to live, work and contribute to the cultural richness of Aberdeen.”
During the past year, Peter has given workshops to students, helped to organise exhibitions and overseen the maintenance of the drawing workshop.
He said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed the past year, supporting the painting department.
“It’s been wonderful being back at Gray’s and getting to know the students, sharing my knowledge and skills with emerging talent and learning how tutors help them move forward with their practice – the year has gone too fast!”
‘Back, Forward (Again)’ is open to the public until Saturday (February 4) at Gray’s School of Art, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen.