Re:New Wallace #3

‘Laura Bell as Eire sits on the Kings Of Ulster coronation stone playing Brain Boru’s harp surrounded by English owned guns’
Robert Peters, 2020

Robert Peters

12 September – 16 October 2020

11am to 5pm
Tuesday to Saturday
Free Admission

Opening Reception
12 September 2020
All Welcome

Artists Statement:

“When I started to research the Wallace Collection I became intrigued as to how the links between Lisburn and Richard Wallace were formed. This led to an exploration of ownership of the land via Royal decreed gangsterism through force of arms. It threw into relief the fraught relationship between Britain and Ireland in the 19th century; absentee landlords, rent strikes, decadent aristocrats, the Famine and Home Rule. I also became fascinated by the life story of Laura Bell, one of Wallace’s relatives. Laura epitomised the two roles assigned to women by Victorian standards: the Madonna and the Magdalene. The Victorian obsession with ‘fallen women’ was encapsulated in her relationship with Prime Minister Gladstone. I spent a week at the Wallace Collection in London exploring the artworks and family archive.

The diversity of subject matter led me to utilise a diversity of processes. Video and audio allowed for a presentation of the complete Collection accompanied by a soundtrack that was inspired by a debauched 1% living in off the backs of the working poor, the relationship between Britain and Ireland and the unhelpful concept of the nation-state. The symbolism of nationhood is also referenced in a set of limited edition printed tea towels, linen of course, and using the high colour-key vernacular of traditional Irish memorabilia. The towel image also appears in black and white as a large scale wall hanging, sucking up colour dyes through osmosis, turning national flag colours into a muddy brown. Gladstone is featured in a digital collage printed in archival inks, dreaming of falling women.

I’d like to thank R-Space for giving me the opportunity to begin this exploration, The Wallace Collection for their support and access to their archives, Lisburn Museum for access to land agent maps and particularly Anthea McWilliams for sharing her knowledge, enthusiasm, encouragement and vision. I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface of the Wallace/Lisburn connection.”

About the artist:

Robert has over 30 years experience of working in the visual arts sector as an exhibiting artist, curator, arts facility manager and educator. He established Arts Creative to realise the potential of art activities beyond the restrictions of bureaucratic constraints. The visual arts provide a limitless source of material and techniques through which to foster skill development, personal growth, community development, emotional wellbeing and issue awareness.

Robert has been the Creative Director of Seacourt Print Workshop, a founding director of Catalyst Arts, a founder of Ards Arts Collective and a Rudolf Steiner Art Teacher, devising numerous innovative programmes for engaging the public in creative activities. His specialist areas include creativity, wellbeing, education and community development. Peters’ artwork is held within the collections of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Trinity College and the Hong Kong Open Print Studio, having exhibited regionally and internationally including at the Halls of Science NYC.

Organisations he has worked with include: Action Mental Health, Alzhiemers Society, Cedar Foundation, Jigsaw NI, Fibromyalgia Support North Down and Ards, Positive Futures Ulster Museum, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, FE McWilliam Gallery, Armagh Planetarium, Queens University Marine Lab, the National Trust, Borough Councils, over forty secondary schools across Northern Ireland and numerous primary schools. Internationally, Peters has worked in partnership with Arizona State University, John Brown University AR, Pyramid Atlantic DC,  Vanha Paukkua Finland, Wharepuke Gallery NZ, University of Vienna and given presentations at international conferences and symposia.

https://www.instagram.com/robertpetersartscreative/