Oil on canvas
The recognisable subject matter and mimetic technique seen in Peter Siddell’s work give the impression that these are studied snapshots of Auckland. Featuring long horizons, Victorian architecture, waterways and volcanic cones, which are transcribed onto the canvas with a high level of detail and precision, these seemingly careful studies, are actually integrated studies that don’t exist anywhere in reality. Siddell’s constructed compositions are derived from a long career of carefully observed and crafted scenes, usually of Auckland, that have accumulated into a visual language that always looks like Auckland, even without specific landmarks.
Like his urban scenes, Siddell’s landscapes are usually unpopulated and still, with big hanging clouds that float lazily across blue skies, and lend a dreamlike quality to his images. The effect is to produce a landscape of the mind, of memory or dream, where some details have absolute clarity, particular houses or windows or trees, but is never quite fixed in reality.
The University of Auckland Art Collection