ACU has recently acquired an artwork by Melbourne artist Peter Wegner.
Peter Wegner is an artist concerned with mental illness and the hardship and isolation it can bring those who are afflicted. Not only has he been a witness to the debilitating disease, he has, in his words ‘become enlightened’ by his exposure to those who are affected. His long-time friend, the poet Graeme Doyle, suffers from schizophrenia, and over the course of many years Wegner has painted his friend, capturing contrasting moments of exhilaration and shattering debilitation. Australian Arts Writer Christopher Allen refers to Wegner’s artist muse as a ‘frequent model’.[i]
With critical line work depicting stark and grim reality, the image captures the pathos of the disadvantaged, poor and marginalized with emotional intensity. Reflecting the nature of the ACU Mission, and with an appreciation of social realism, Wegner believes in the importance of upholding the dignity of the human person by simply relating to the person – not the illness.
As a practising figurative painter, sculptor and draughtsman, Peter Wegner has held regular solo exhibitions in both Sydney and Melbourne. His work has also been included in group exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. In 2006, Wegner was awarded the Doug Moran Prize and completed a commission sponsored by BHP for the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. Wegner’s work is held in the collections of the National Library of Australia, Canberra; the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra; the State Library of Victoria, Melbourne and several regional galleries.
ACU Curator, Caroline Field believes Man on edge will make an important addition to the University’s collection, and plans to circulate the work for display among the campuses throughout 2018.
Peter Wegner, Man on edge 2017 Etching, 19.5 x 14.5 cm Australian Catholic University Art Collection
[i] Allen, Christopher, ‘Bigger picture’, The Australian, 11 November, 2017