Review – ‘Postcard from Cutesville’ show, Otago Daily Times, 1 June 2006, by James Dignan

show-odtreview2006Peter Lewis’s collages are becoming a familiar sight around Dunedin galleries.

In these works, images from popular culture are taken, reworked and layered into new art. Cartoon and magazine art sit alongside xeroxed and scanned 19th-century book engravings to produce new, surreal scenes. The result is simultaneously over the top and appealing.

Lewis right name-checks Maz Ernst in the show’s notes – there is much that is reminiscent of the surreal montages of this 20th-century master. Richard Hamilton could equally be cited, as Lewis’ appropriation of cultural artefacts is reminiscent of this artist’s early experiments in pop art.

Far from being a stylistic throwback, however, a case could be made for an analogy with modern music – the mash-ups and samples so beloved of dance DJs bear comparison with the methods used here. It would not be surprising if more artists took a lead from the music scene with increasing moves towards such post-modern techniques as those that Lewis uses with such aplomb and humour here. The effect is enjoyably subversive while also being provocative and thoughtful.