Review – ‘My Little Empire’ show, Otago Daily Times, 14 July 2011, by James Dignan

show-odtreviewFurther down Stafford St, None Gallery presented a short exhibition of collages by Peter Lewis.

Lewis’ art creates a humorous nightmare of a world, its images drawn from low art and popular culture. These are juxtaposed in a surreal manner, to become a universe where the laws of logic do not hold and the non-sequitur reigns supreme.

Lewis’ influences range from the Surrealist cut-outs of Ernst through to pulp comic art, and he weaves his landscapes well to produce his outlandish scenes. Solidly painted canvases are overlaid with cut-out pieces from comics and magazines, resulting in a cut-and-paste visual mash-up.

Speech balloons provide clues to the actions in this feverish landscape, but their offhand illogic, often emphasised by the titles of the works, presents only more mysteries as the viewer is drawn deeper in.

The technique is far from new, but it is the skill with which the images are put together that is the making or breaking of the art. Lewis succeeds in creating solid, believable yet outlandish worlds, perhaps most effectively with his monochromatic Gimme Gimme Shark Treatment. In this piece, the starkness of the black and white add to the faintly Edwardian air of its little fantasy empire.