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Peter H. Marshall still lifeTitle
Still Life

In storage

Place of origin
New South Wales, Australia



Winner Calleen Award

Accession number

Excerpt from The Calleen Collection by Peter Haynes (2019)

Peter H. Marshall was born in Victoria (Kanya) in 1964. His interest in art was fostered by his parents and he attended the Ronald Crawford School of Painting in Melbourne before leaving for Sydney in 1989 to attend The Julian Ashton Art School. The award of the AME Bale Scholarship in 1991 enabled him to travel through Europe, America and Japan absorbing the historic and contemporary visual cultures of the many places he visited. He has been awarded numerous prizes and has been a finalist in the Mosman Art Prize, the Dobell Drawing Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2001 — 2005, 2009), the Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize (2006, 2007, 2010) and the Mortimer Art Prize (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012). He has exhibited in over 60 group and solo shows. He lives and works in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.

Still Life contains the classic elements of its genre – table, cloth, fruit, plate, mugs, wine bottle. Like many others, especially post early Modernist interpretations, the picture plane is tilted forward into the viewer’s space. This device immediately proposes a type of formal tension but also pushes the objects themselves into the foreground. While Marshall’s objects are typical, his treatment of them is not. The fruit, plate, mugs and wine bottle are not carefully delineated but rather placed in a muted yellowish light. This gives each object a shadowy presence rather than a corporeal identity. The artist imbues a physical softness into each object denying, for example, the natural hardness of the bottle or the plate. The light suffuses the entire composition such that objects almost merge into one another. The foreground cloth and background wall are treated in the same manner. This creates visual unity and an atmosphere of intimate domesticity as though the light emanates from a fireplace rather than an artificial source. Marshall’s Still Life is about familiarity and atmospheric warmth.