Moray Gallery

Peter McLaren: Images of Broken Light

7-27 October 2023

At the heart of much of my work lies the idea of 'Nostos' (a Greek word which loosely translates as ‘the ache of not being at home’). 'Home' is more than just a physical location; it's also a symbolic or psychological space. My work attempts to bridge these two ideas.

I am part of the Scottish Diaspora; I was born in Scotland but grew up in New Zealand. The feeling that home is always elsewhere not something I can easily shake - In many ways I still feel that I am an exile, a stranger in both the land of my birth as well as my adoptive home.

The South Island landscape is very similar to Scotland's and these paintings are basically composite images that represent half remembered memories of a distant past - I have no real interest in depicting specific locales. I am looking beyond that (and the constraints that the realism tradition demands) as I strive for what I call an 'emotional realism'. When I start a work, I really only have an idea of the overall 'feeling' I want to suggest and the colour scheme - eventually the work begins to emerge and reveal itself. The element of chance plays a crucial role within the creative process. I enjoy the tension between being in control of the process and letting go.

Ultimately, my work is more an attempt to capture a feeling, a fleeting moment, than it is a faithful rendition of a scene. The imagery speaks of things that are there, but not quite there. Absence, loss and isolation loom large in these works.

LINK to James Dignan's ODT review of Images of Broken Light.