Unobtania a body of work by Peter Robson.
Preview evening with live music from Steve Pledger on Thursday February 7th, 2019
Exhibition runs from 7th Feb until 6th March, 2019.
‘Towns like North Shields and the surrounding areas were not unusual in sending young men and women to the ‘theatre’ of war. The ‘pals’ regiments that were formed during the first world war almost continue to this day. I have been provoked by this, not only with so called economic recruitment of these people but how today’s ‘conflict’ is paraded before us on the screens that we ever increasingly watch and surely dehumanise us even more . In light of this, with this exhibition ‘Unobtania’ I wanted to not only reflect on war but myself too as a child and then what inspired me to indeed become an artist.
Ever since I was a child, I have drawn, mused, painted and dreamed, however, as a teenager I started to reflect on the horrors of war. In particular the horrendous ‘carpet bombing’ of Vietnam. This was the start of me presenting, through paintings, politically driven questions to provoke those in power. I would like to think my work questions those that have grabbed power too. ‘Unobtania’ is a body of work that critiques man’s inhumanity to man. The first world war was the first industrialised war and certainly the first to use on an industrial scale, with chemical warfare. I wanted the painting the ‘Trenches’ to represent an ‘everyman/woman’ picture that applied to the working class and sadly, this could apply to the news coming from Syria today. The desolation is also a metaphor of what they came back to with the lack of any after care or indeed, psychiatric care that was in it’s infancy. The ‘boots on the ground’ is a reflection of the mantra that politicians still espouse with ad nausea and infinitum.
These ever repeated mantra’s and statements seen by the masses lead to a detachment from the reality that actually thousands of men, women and children are being slaughtered in the likes of Syria by bombings and we see this happening today. Within my work there is a deliberate tension between the brightness of colour and seriousness of the subject matter, I almost wanted this also to be a provocation with bright colours and what is being described by myself’.
Steve Pledger is an award-winning recording artist with songs that range from fragile reflections on love and loss to blistering commentaries on present circumstances. Writing and performing is very much his way of seeking to make sense of an increasingly complicated world whilst celebrating the better part of our nature and the hope to which we cling.
Americana-UK describe his music as “Poetic, knowing, clever, thoughtful & melodic; the world would be a far better place with more of this stuff” whilst FATEA Magazine said that his most recent album cast him “as a protest singer, up there with the likes of Billy Bragg, Phil Ochs and Ewan MacColl. ”
Steve performs around the country, and since moving to the North East in 2017 has become a regular fixture on the local live music scene, including at several political events. In July of last year, he opened for Billy Bragg at Durham Town Hall as part of the ‘People, Pits & Politics’ Festival which took place around the annual Miners’ Gala.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this exhibition preview event of Peter’s remarkable work. I believe we are of a similar mind in what we do and I’m honoured to have been asked to perform; the whole evening is something I’m very much looking forward to.” (SP)