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PETER SOLARI: THEN AND NOW ( MY ART JOURNEY 1980 TO THE PRESENT DAY)
FROM ROMANTIC REALISM TO AUTOMATIC SURREALISM AND BACK.
1980 to 1982: At this time I lived in Kenley, Surrey and attended Croydon College of Art where I was tutored by Ana Maria Pacheco and Denis Masi in Printmaking. Both of these tutors had a profound effect on me and in the direction of my art. I worked as an apprentice to Ana; carving wood, preparing canvasses and learning how to be professional as an artist. Meanwhile the beauty of the Surrey landscape and the exciting nature of 1980s central London influenced the content of my work. At this time I started to walk the streets of London with my college friend (Andy Giblin) looking for inspiration with our cameras.
1982 to 1986: I had moved to Birmingham for my degree in Fine Art. I was very lucky to live in a very special area in central Birmingham called the Gas Street Basin. Here the barges, waterways and dilapidated factories really inspired me. This was not just through the landscape itself, but also the old stained glass factories that I used to rummage around looking for inspiration and the Edward Burne-Jones stained glass visible around the Art College.
I continued to do some work for Ana, and another artist called Rose Garrard; as well as work at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham. I developed small exhibitions and had a piece in the Royal Academy Stowells Exhibition. My work began to develop a rhythmic style loosely based on stained glass.
1986 to 2010: At this stage I had made the decision, after discussing it with Ana Pacheco, to commit myself to teaching and, on becoming a Head of Department in 1990, used photography as an outlet for my personal creativity whilst devoting my time to making sure the students succeeded in their work. However, I continued to produce a few pieces and constantly worked with a variety of materials in order to give visual cues to the students. Art History increasingly played a part in the students work and I became intrigued by various artists; including Howard Hodgkin, Georgio De Chirico, Roberto Matta and Delaunay. Portraits and landscapes were particularly evident in my work at this time. Climbing also became a big part of my life and the hills and valleys were a terrific outlet for my photography.
2010 to 2015: It was at this time that some of my drawings took on a Surrealist tone, based on my love of the aforementioned artists. Doodles would become more elaborate and I became interested in the subconscious. Colleagues would remark, positively, on the detailed nature of my doodles and I then decided to take some of these into painting; starting with subconscious images and shapes and then working these up through observation and colour. The work seemed to reflect my mood and thoughts about the past and hopes for the future. These linked my interest in landscape with my past work based on stained glass.
2016 to 2022: Trips to Skye and long walks around London during Lockdown, particularly along the river Wandle, re-awakened my love of landscape. I painted and created etchings as well as keeping the surrealist side of my work going. I used the 5 mile Lockdown limit to its upmost, walking in every direction and walking as far as I could (was allowed) taking photographs. Photography started to become the art and I moved between colour and black and white images. Meanwhile, I continued to paint and joined Putney School of Art to Printmake.
Throughout all of these years, my prime objective was the truth in the work. Whether that be through depicting the essence of the person, landscape, object etc. or the depiction of our subconscious thought which rules 97% of our everyday actions.
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