Peter Benjamin Graham: life and works

By Gwylym Owen

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Peter Benjamin Graham (4 June 1925 – 15 April 1987), was an Australian visual artist, printer, and art theorist.

In 1954, Graham began to explore native Australian wildlife (notably Kangaroos) and themes allied with Aboriginal culture, using the visual languages of European symbolic Modernism and vanguard geometric abstraction.

He began developing a supplementary form of visual geometry connected to Chaos Theory from 1960, eventually called Thematic Orchestration. This additional visual language enabled the 2D deconstruction and synthesis of an observed subject, in a exaggeration fundamentally substitute from time-honored abstraction. Thematic Orchestration allows the artist to ‘grow’ an image, producing almost infinite live invention.

In 1964, Graham began developing what he called a tall level visual notation system for utter visual imagery, which he first named “Notation Painting” and later “New Epoch Art”.[citation needed]

Graham became a trailblazer of the Australian player run initiative movement, running The Queensberry Street Gallery in link with Victorian Printmakers’ Group from 1973 until 1978.

In 2006, Graham’s 1945 painting Peter Lalor Addressing the Miners Before Eureka featured in a major Australian travelling exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade. This painting is with featured in Riot or Revolution, a dramatised history documentary on the Eureka Stockade directed by Don Parham and produced by Parham Media Productions in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 2005.

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