The figure, the servo and art of Peter Lankas

A digital sketch of one of the works by Peter Lankas in an upcoming exhibition at Gallery 139.

A digital sketch of one of the works by Peter Lankas in an upcoming exhibition at Gallery 139.

 AN exhibition of works, Heads and Other Things, by Newcastle artist Peter Lankas will open at Gallery 139 this month. 

The show will pull together works created while teaching life drawing classes, including a series of portraits. Many of the works were initially sketched using an iPad, before being fleshed out onto canvas in oil paint. 

“When I was teaching it was easier for me to draw on an iPad, rather than dragging all my art materials in,” Lankas said. 

“The iPad was too small to do a full body, so I started doing little portraits. I found it was more comfortable drawing a head or a portrait rather than trying to fit a whole body in. 

“I suddenly found I had an interest again for the figure and the portrait, and I decided to use some of that for this upcoming show.”

The exhibition will also include landscape works. 

“It’s a mish-mash of all the other things I do,” Lankas said. “There is still the en plein air practice dealing with the landscape.

“My interest in the figure and the environment they are in, the setting, or an urban setting, whether it’s streets-capes, interiors; shopping centres.

“There is still the ongoing fascination with the servo as the backdrop.”

The will be five “servo” works in the show. 

“The whole servo series came about when I was driving home one night, thinking about what I was going to paint for a solo exhibition,” Lankas said. 

“Just that visual thing of the servo always being there, lit up. Almost like a temple in the distance with its seductive lights, and in a way it’s quite beautiful.

“We all visit the servo, it’s something we can all identify with. And dealing with the most mundane and ordinary element, and somehow pulling in everything I experience in the world and mashing it all up and pushing an image out.” 

Lankas became allergic to solvents used in oil paints and began to make his own paint using processes developed by the masters. 

“I was quiet interested in the irony of the service station being so toxic and being produced with natural products,” Lankas.

“But there has also been that visual element, almost like a circus or a fair lit up and you can go in and buy petrol, cigarettes and lollies. The beauty is superficial, there is nothing there.” 

“There is also the link back to pop art, and the servo being painted by people like Stuart Davies, Edward Hopper and Ed Ruscha.

“There is a history of artists exploring the servo.” 

Heads and Other Things opens at Gallery 139, 139 Beaumont Street, Hamilton, on October 11. gallery139.com.au