Glasgow-based sculptor Mick Peter transforms imagery from fiction, illustration and graphic design into playful installations, liberating images from the flat surface of the page to create witty and exuberant sculptures. Sketches and squiggles are transformed in scale and remade in substantial materials such as concrete, acrylic resin and polyurethane. The resulting sculptures, despite their robustness, have an uneasy feeling about them, as though they are not yet entirely complete.
In the pre-digital era, any element that belonged on the final page was illustrated or hand-cut, copied and pasted. Peter often takes this process one step further, folding images into new shapes to create the basis of his sculptural forms. In the exhibition Trademark Horizon (2013) at SWG3 in Glasgow, Peter collaged commercial trademarks, to create the models for a series of works made in acrylic resin. Out of context, scaled up and placed within the gallery, the logos appeared like monumental objects, their familiarity stripped away.
Peter's exhibition Lying and Liars (2012), at Collective in Edinburgh, featured eccentric hand-drawn characters in an environment of cement wall reliefs. The title was a reference to British novelist and filmmaker BS Johnson (1933–1973) who, through his experimental novels, pioneered new approaches to storytelling. The exhibition followed Johnson’s idea that fiction is a form of ‘lying’, exploring the conflict between conventional storytelling and formal experimentation.
For GENERATION, Mick Peter has created a similar environment for Jupiter Artland near Edinburgh. His installation features cement wall reliefs and objects and monstrous ‘popcorn’. The modular cement forms remind us of public sculpture. The unpredictability of popcorn, meanwhile, represents both the ‘accidental’ sculptural nature of the eventual form and the processes used: they are made in expanding polyurethane, a similarly unpredictable material. Peter has also created a pair of ‘folded’ sculptures for Tramway’s Hidden Gardens in Glasgow. In this instance the characters are stylised hippies who have taken up residence on the lawn, the backdrop providing a counterpoint to their unusual scale.