Peter Booth was worn during WWII and moved to Australia when he was 18. Booth is influenced by the world around him and his childhood memories – of blackouts and bombings - anxiety’s, dreams and experiences. Booth addresses issues such as art and the human form, Metamorphosis, human behaviour and the human subconscious as key themes in his art works with his painting generally symbolising the violent and dark aspects of human nature. Booth refuses to give tittles to his works with them simply titles by the year it was made. Since the late 70’s Booth has been working in a more figurative style though they are not always realistic with the figures coming from Booths privet world of night mares and epileptic visions. Booth has been known to distort and exaggerate his figures while using techniques such as impasto in energetic and expressive brush strokes. His artworks are quiet paintly with Booth sometimes using his bare hands or a palette knife to apply his paint, while also using sgraffito in some places.
Booths oil on canvas painting 1977 depicts a landscape damaged and destroyed with two circular fiery blood red echoes of moons; one more orange than red, taking up a huge portion of the sky in front of a chaotic background. The background is thick, layered with rich texture that would have been applied with his hands. Booths expressive style is harsh and quiet disturbing with the devastated vegetation displaying scantily clad trees and what appears to be fallen armour (shields) left abandoned along the path were a pale middle aged man with white hair and red eyes walks away from a burning civilisation; leaving rotting sky scrapers aflame. The man is bundled up in a trench coat that blends into the night, a silver pit bull standing to the right of him next to a strange foot step. The man can only be conceived as walking away from the horrifying city with a grim and sombre expression.
Booths figure has evil, red eyes that are similar and point to the eyes of a vampire, could the city be aflame because of one man and his thirst for blood having ended an entire civilisation? Or could the horrifying land scaped, the blood red orbs and burning sky scrapers signify the end of days? The figure is walking away from this catastrophe slowly, as if unaffected or behind it, as a psychotic vibe reaches out to grab viewers. The figure walks away alone in clothing much suited to the environment, suggesting he’s been there a long time and adjusted with the times, while the silver Pitbull trailing him is scene keeping its distance could represent loyalty – “Man’s best friend,” But could also symbolize Booths friend who had just passed away. The figure could be seen as booth who has turned to the dark side in his grief and now walks alone, while his friend is portrayed as there but just out of reach in the form of a loyal dog. This piece could also be inspired by the visions Booth experiences from his epileptic fits or by Vincent Van Goth, with the back rounds night sky showing similarity’s to “Starry night” - The orbs and the colours that peek through the paintly background and what looks to be another orb or moon that disappears into the background. The strange foot prints almost perceived as ‘burned’ into the ground could represent the evil that is lurking behind the shadows of Booths work or the direction that the Pitbull is trying to lead the Booth towards, while his hazed and blank expression could also be perceived as Booth suffering from an epileptic fit. Another interpretation could be Booth is on the other side, a silver river behind him similar to the river Styx that carries on to the other side which is peeping through the veil, while to the left is the fiery pits of Tartarus and Booth is being guided home by his friend because it is not yet his time.
I really enjoyed the many interpretations I found in this piece, it’s like reading twelve different books. Booths use of not naming his works really draws in curiosity, maybe naming it would limit the interpretations? I admire how he incorporated his life experiences into his works, it really brings originality especially how we can see by his aggressive brush strokes and layering all the emotion he had bottled up and just let go of and how you can notice the places he used his bare hands compared to a pallet knife or sgraffito. Booths use of his typical dark colour pallet really paints a dangerous vibe, everything appears dark and scary, which really set the mood for viewers and when matched with the chaotic brushstrokes and style really brought the whole piece together.