“‘If one can really penetrate the life of another age, one is penetrating the life of one’s own.’ So wrote T.S. Eliot on the translation of historical literature. Similarly, in the paintings of Peter Waddell, representation should not be confused with reproduction. For Waddell, ‘history painting’ is never merely the direct portrayal of historical fact. Rather, it is an act of penetration – penetration into the past, and the subsequent recreation of that past in the present.
“History painting could be considered an art reliant on veracity tempered by invention, on historical fidelity filtered by the subjectivity of recollection. This is artistic territory, located by Waddell, on the boundary between history and legend: a point where historical fact and artistic creativity, reconstruction and interpretation, blend into a third, transcendent visionary reality.
“Peter Waddell is an artist for whom history can be neither illustrated nor concluded – rather painted, and thereby recreated. It’s an imaginative cartography of that other country: the past.”
-Bede Scott, Art Historian