Artist Bianca Peake exhibits No Man is an Island at Soft Box
Bianca Peake is a ceramics studio assistant, a freelance graphic designer primarily making event posters, and a production assistant for video advertising.
“But all of that is secondary,” she told WMN in a phone interview.
“I see myself first and foremost as an artist. I am first and foremost a painter, and there is an element of performance that usually manifests in the form of painting,” Peake said.
His work is exhibited at the Soft Box Gallery, Alcazar Street, St Clair. Titled No Man is an Island, the exhibit opened May 27 and will run through June 11.
“My work is figurative and has a lot to do with the female body mainly. I invent a cast of characters who are an avatar of myself… We can’t understand each other as we are, but we’re not quite alone. We do not exist in a vacuum because we are influenced by everyone around us and shaped by everything around us.
She said the 16 oil paintings and 13 monotypes – a single image printed from a polished plate, like glass or metal that has been painted with an ink drawing – are a continuation of a thought that has been going on for a long time, and one that will continue. She said the majority of the pieces were made in 2021 during the pandemic.
“There are so many things to decode in a painting because you spend so much time there that you become so imbued with yourself, even when you are not even aware of it… The exhibition is a continuation of the reflections that run through my practice, particularly of the conflict between the internal self and the external perceptions of that self.
Peake has a BA in fine art from Camberwell College of Arts in London, but said she was an artist long before formal training.
“The natural talent has always been there.”
Initially, she says, she went to Camberwell to study communication in design more pragmatically, but decided to change majors. She has stated that while she is not averse to using other mediums, she prefers working with oil paint due to its versatility.
“There is a body and it remains open to manipulation for a long time. You can use so many mediums with oils and there are so many things you can do with them.
Peake said she loves working with her hands and the sense of satisfaction she gets from seeing her finished products, and that she loves nature, especially the ocean.
“The ocean is really important to me. My dad has a boathouse so I spent a lot of my childhood on the ocean…I use nature as an environment to symbolize the inner world. When I’m in nature is like an expansion of my own mind.
While she has had group shows in TT, London and Miami, the 25-year-old says this is her second solo show.
His recent exhibitions include Damned If I Do at Gallery 46, London; and Relative, Ink Drawings and A Shot to the Ego in TT Galleries.
“There’s a great group of young artists I’ve done group shows with – Khaffi Beckles, Elechi Todd, Chris Ross-Dick and Kriston Banfield. I’ve learned so much working with them… And then there’s Christopher Cozier from Alice Yard, who has been a mentor to me and so many others in the local art scene.
Peake said his plan is to continue creating art, experimenting, doing more local and international exhibitions and showing up to increase the chances of his work being seen by well-known collectors.
“I want to produce pieces that challenge me and push me out of my comfort zone, which can be difficult for a lot of artists, especially when they’re successful.”
And while her interpretation of her work means a lot to her, she said she has certain expectations from those who view her work.
“I would love for them to come up with their own stories, because ultimately when you see my work it will mean something different to you than it means to me, and I have no problem with that.”
The Soft Box Gallery hours of operation are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.