“In the series of paintings titled ‘History Painting’, Peter Waddell delves into the rich and complex history of painting. This western and essentially European history of art, is transplanted and re-read from an antipodean and contemporary perspective. Waddell’s paintings examine the history of artistic exploration and its place in the southern hemisphere.
“The reading of art history is neither clear nor complete. As with all histories it is described from a contemporary vantage point looking backwards. Waddell’s work adheres to a movement in contemporary art that had found international credence as New Romantic painting. Like the American painters Beutsch and Beeman, Waddell examines the picturesque and looks to the panoramic views painted by early colonial artists and constructs a new romantic land.
“. . . In the context of New Zealand and Auckland – land surrounded by water – Waddell’s paintings convey a feeling of voyage and discovery. The theme of navigation and mapping out new lands makes reference to another complicated history of discovery. It is a theme that has been examined by romantic painters around the new world as the frontiers in their relatively recent histories have been explored.
“The essence of Waddell’s paintings is art and the history of painting. They allow the viewer to contemplate the land which we inhabit through the literary process of history and the visual experience of painting.”