Dreams of ordinary people


Australia born 1946
Dreams of ordinary people
Cast iron, steel

Born in Melbourne, Peter Tilley trained at the Newcastle School of Art and Design in NSW and later at the University of Newcastle. Having practised both as a ceramicist and a sculptor, his work in the latter discipline is characterised by variations on the theme of a stage-like tableau involving a solitary and featureless human figure.

The artist has implied that while the psychological disquiet aroused by these compositions reflects aspects of his personal experience, his intention is to evoke ideas and narratives that are universal in nature and open to wider interpretation.

Here, Tilley’s anonymous protagonist is poised at a doorway, seemingly hesitant to proceed beyond its threshold into an adjoining realm (the future?) where another of Tilley’s signature motifs, the archetype of a small oarless boat – or rather, as here, a boat-shaped concavity – awaits. The stillness of the spectacle, and the ambiguity as to whether we are witness to a moment of trepidation or positive expectation typify the emotional contradictions in Tilley’s work.

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