Peter Garnick

A photographer for over 50 years, I  work principally in the printmaking media of copper plate etching, collagraphy and photopolymer etching. My printmaking is abstract in nature and uses photographic imagery, hand-drawn gestures or found materials (frequently road-side trash) as starting points; my photographic work is primarily of industrial environments and construction landscapes.

I have worked in the past on commission with public, private and government organisations. Typically, these commissions resulted in specialised imagery, which was used by clients in communications material, commemorative publications and often produced as full-sized artworks.

My work is exhibited in Australia, and is represented in public, private and corporate collections in the USA, the UK and in Australia. I have been a finalist and winner in a number of art competitions around Australia: 2018 finalist in Queensland’s Inkmasters Exhibition, 2017 prizewinner in the Geelong Print Prize, and 2010 won the inaugural Lens Mist Photographic Competition.

Curriculum Vitae

  • 2019 Tube I & Tube II, PEER Project, Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne
  • 2019 Déjà Views, Faraday’s Cage, Melbourne
  • 2019 Art@Marios – Rush Mode, Marios Fitzroy, Melbourne
  • 2019 Medical History Museum Exhibition, University of Melbourne, Melbourne
  • 2019 Selections from Refuse, Faraday’s Cage, Melbourne
  • 2018 Art@336 – Queenscliff Collagraphs, Fitzroy House Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2018 An Evolving Art Practice – 12-Year Retrospective, Media House Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2018 Refuse, Tacit Galleries, Melbourne
  • 2018 Editions 2018-Group Print Show, Tacit Galleries, Melbourne
  • 2017 Footpath Fauna, Tacit Contemporary Art, Melbourne
  • 2017 Elements, Tacit Contemporary Art, Melbourne
  • 2017 Geelong Art Gallery – Acquisitive Print Award, Geelong VIC
  • 2017 Editions 2017-Group Print Show, Tacit Contemporary Art, Melbourne
  • 2017 Selections from Human Nature III, Faraday’s Cage, Melbourne
  • 2016 Selections from Human Nature III, Slow Clay Centre, Melbourne
  • 2016 “Lines” from Editions 2015/Human Nature II, Faraday’s Cage, Melbourne
  • 2016 Constructive Ragpickings/Curative Curiosities, Media House Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2016 Human Nature III, Tacit Contemporary Art, Melbourne
  • 2016 Obscure Camera, Group Show, Tacit Contemporary Art, Melbourne
  • 2016 Australian Flora & Fauna, Group Show, Media House Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2016 Editions 2016, Group Print Show, Tacit Contemporary Art, Melbourne
  • 2015 Selections from Human Nature II, Slow Clay Centre, Melbourne
  • 2015 Luminous Ink – Group Photogravure Show, Tacit Contemporary Art, Melbourne
  • 2015 Human Nature II, Tacit Contemporary Art, Melbourne
  • 2015 Editions 2015 – Group Print Show, Tacit Contemporary Art, Melbourne
  • 2014 Déjà Views (Photo Gravure), Tacit Contemporary Art, Melbourne
  • 2014 Inkmasters Print Exhibition, Group Show, Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns QLD
  • 2014 Marvellous Melbourne, Group Show, Media House Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2014 Marvellous Melbourne, Group Show, F1 Grand Prix, Melbourne
  • 2014 Images of the AMDC, Solo, Swinburne University, Melbourne
  • 2013 Liquid Gold, Solo, Gorton Exhibition Space, Kerang, VIC
  • 2012 Lasting Beauty, Solo, West Gippsland Art Centre, Warragul, VIC
  • 2012 Liquid Gold – The Art of Irrigation, Solo, Customs House, Echuca VIC
  • 2012 Liquid Gold – The Art of Irrigation, Solo, Community Gallery, Cohuna VIC
  • 2012 Without A Trace, Solo, fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne
  • 2011 Liquid Gold – The Art of Irrigation, Solo, Shepparton Art Museum
  • 2011 Liquid Gold – The Art of Irrigation, Solo, Sofitel on Collins, Melbourne
  • 2011 Lasting Beauty, Solo, Aust National Botanic Gardens, Canberra ACT
  • 2011 Marvellous Melbourne, Group Show, Hilton South Wharf, Melbourne
  • 2011 Urban Passion, Group Show, Traffic Jam Galleries, Sydney
  • 2011 Images of Melbourne, State Agricultural University, St Petersburg, Russia
  • 2011 Images of Melbourne, Pascal Lyceum, St Petersburg, Russia
  • 2010 Human Nature, Solo, New North Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2010 Without A Trace, Solo, Hamilton Regional Gallery, Hamilton VIC
  • 2010 Lasting Beauty, Solo, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
  • 2010 Action-Reflection, with Mila Grigoriev, Mildura Regional Gallery, Mildura VIC
  • 2010 Constructive Ragpickings, Solo, Horsham Art Gallery, Horsham VIC
  • 2009 Action-Reflection, with Mila Grigoriev, Blacksphere Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2009 Action-Reflection, with Mila Grigoriev, Orange Regional Gallery, Orange NSW
  • 2009 Transition – 1st Anniversary, The Women’s Hospital, Parkville VIC
  • 2009 Synchronised Trilogy, Solo, Gross Gallery, Jewish Museum of Aust, St Kilda VIC
  • 2009 Curative Curiosities, Solo, Stakeholders Event, Univ of Melb Faculty of Medicine, Melbourne
  • 2009 Constructive Ragpickings, Solo, Sofitel Level 35 Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2008 Curative Curiosities, Solo, Blacksphere Gallery, Richmond VIC
  • 2008 Constructive Ragpickings – Solo, Mildura Regional Art Gallery, Mildura VIC
  • 2008 Constructive Ragpickings – Concord Gallery, Concord, Massachusetts USA
  • 2007 Images from the New Women’s – Solo, Royal Women’s Hospital, Carlton VIC
  • 2007 Constructive Ragpickings – Solo, Blacksphere Gallery, Richmond VIC
  • 2007 Images from the New Women’s – Solo, Crown Promenade, Melbourne
  • 2007 Exquisite Blight – Solo, Shepparton Art Festival, Shepparton VIC
  • 2006 Rainbow of Chaos – with Mila Grigoriev, Blacksphere Gallery, Richmond VIC
  • 2006 Kodak Salon Group Show, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne
  • 2006 Exquisite Blight/Syncopated Light – Solo, CUSP Gallery, Northcote VIC

  • 2018 Inkmasters Print Exhibition – Finalist, Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns QLD
  • 2017 Geelong Art Gallery – Acquisitive Print Award, Prize Winner, Geelong VIC
  • 2015 Nillumbik Art Prize – Finalist, Eltham VIC
  • 2014 Nillumbik Art Prize – Finalist, Eltham VIC
  • 2014 Inkmasters Print Prize – Finalist, Cairns QLD
  • 2011 St Michael’s Archangel Prize – Finalist, Melbourne
  • 2010 St Patrick’s Art Prize – Finalist, Ballarat VIC
  • 2010 St Michael’s Archangel Prize – Finalist, Melbourne
  • 2010 Lens Mist Photography Prize – Winner, Kingston VIC
  • 2009 New North 2009 Photography Prize – Winner, Melbourne
  • 2009 Hutchins Works on Paper Art Prize – Finalist, Hobart, TAS
  • 2009 Prometheus Visual Arts Award – Finalist, Prometheus Foundation, Merrimac QLD
  • 2008 Bone Marrow Donor Institute Touch of Red – Winner, Melbourne
  • 2007 Williamstown Festival Art Prize – Finalist, Exhibited Arts Centre, Newport, VIC
  • 2007 Linden Postcard Show, Exhibited Centre for Contemporary Arts, St Kilda, VIC
  • 2007 Cancer Society Art Awards – Finalist. Exhibited Art Gallery, Warrnambool, VIC
  • 2007 Cancer Society Art Awards – Finalist. Exhibited Cube 37 Gallery, Frankston VIC
  • 2006 Town of Vincent Art Award – Finalist. Exhibited Civic Centre, Leederville WA
  • 2006 Willoughby Art Prize – Finalist. Exhibited Willoughby Civic Centre, NSW
  • 2006 Cancer Society Art Awards – Finalist. Exhibited 15W Gallery, Melbourne

  • 2019 Exhibition Catalog, The Women’s: Carers, Advocates and Reformers, Melbourne University, Melbourne
  • 2014 AMDC Souvenir Postcard Set, Swinburne University, Melbourne
  • 2013 Mural: Advancing Technologies, Swinburne Newsletter, Melbourne
  • 2012 Irrigation Beauty Captured, Cohuna Weekly, Cohuna, VIC
  • 2011 Capturing the Beauty, Shepparton News, Shepparton, VIC
  • 2011 Late Change of Tune, Melbourne Age, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2011 Liquid Gold – The Art of Irrigation, Catalogue, Pub Foodbowl Unlimited, VIC
  • 2010 Capturing Change, Hamilton Spectator, Hamilton, Victoria
  • 2009 Garnick Builds a Body of Work (Photography Prize), Melbourne Leader, Melbourne
  • 2009 New Exhibitions Burst Out for Spring, Central Western Daily, NSW
  • 2009 Constructive Curiosities – A Visual Reflection on the Medical History, Museum Collection, Collections Journal (Cover & Article), Melbourne Univ
  • 2008 Transition – 150 Years of the Royal Women’s Hospital Melb Univ Pub.
  • 2008 Creating the Women’s, Published Bilfinger Berger & Baulderstone, Melbourne
  • 2008 Constructive Ragpickings – Exhibition Catalogue, Published Mildura Art Ctr, VIC
  • 2008 Artist Makes US Debut, Concord Journal, Boston USA
  • 2007 Keeping the Memories Alive, Victorian Dept of Human Services Newsletter, Melbourne
  • 2007 Finding Beauty in Death, Shepparton News
  • 2006 Pictures Bring Solace, Melbourne Herald Sun

  • 2015-16 Downer Group: Artistic documentation of Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre construction
  • 2015 Swinburne – International Women’s Day – 20 Artworks
  • 2014 Swinburne – Advanced Manufacturing & Design Centre: 20 Artworks
  • 2012 Swinburne University – Advanced Technologies Centre Mural (10m x 7m)
  • 2010 City of Yarra Public Art – Finalist – Richmond Police Station
  • 2008-14 Baulderstone/Lend Lease: Artistic documentation of major project infrastructure (Hospitals, Academic & Research facilities)

Public Collections

  • Art Gallery of Western Australia
  • Mildura Regional Arts Centre
  • Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade
  • Melbourne University Medical History Museum
  • The Royal Women’s Hospital
  • Swinburne University of Technology
  • Victorian Parliament House – Member for Shepparton
  • Northern Victoria Irrigation Renewal Project
  • Goulburn Murray Water
  • 3MBS-FM

Corporate Collections

  • Baulderstone
  • Bonacci Engineering
  • Gippsland Dental
  • Graeme Gunn Architects
  • Shepparton News

Private Collections
Australia – USA – UK

Critical Commentary

From ‘Constructive Ragpickings’

“It is this radical absence of a frame of reference for scale that contributes to the power of these images, be they large or small. This is an engaging and bodily experience. The spaces are strangely familiar and yet unknown.

This is the story of geometry, of form and tone, of structure and repetition of positive and negative forms, of light and dark, of restrained colour. Garnick is adept in engaging repeated utilitarian markings on surfaces or numbers sprayed onto the wall, destined to be covered over once their function has been met, as part of the rhythmic structure of his compositions.

But far from a dull formula, Garnick finds pleasure and drama in positive and negative space, in robust contrasts and unexpected breaks in pattern and rhythm. In many respects the real subject of the work is light. Absence of light, variations of light, plays of light across surfaces and light reflected.”

Naomi Cass, Director, Centre For Contemporary Photography
From ‘Constructive Ragpickings’

“This work is documentary in that it observes and records a place and processes in time, albeit quite deliberately without the actors whose absence is palpable. In another sense the work is a kind of anticipatory archaeology, revealing what will soon be obliterated, buried in concrete.

These images of a Melbourne hospital building site are also quite beautiful, most of them work wonderfully as highly formal abstractions revealing the photographer’s awareness of and allegiances to modern visual culture.

What makes Peter Garnick’s images in this exhibition outstanding however is not their success as either documentary or abstraction. It is his acute sensibility and control of his chosen medium. These scapes of concrete, steel, light, and imagination are quite literally luminous. They are luminous and astonishing because of the artist’s ability to look through the viewfinder and make his exposures while calculating that the printed image which will hang on the gallery wall can express space and light so as to achieve a small wonder.”

Julian Bowron, Director, Mildura Regional Gallery
From ‘Liquid Gold – The Art of Irrigation’

“Peter Garnick has a knack of being witness to periods of change, finding beauty and monumentality in man-made technology, on the cusp of re-development. I am thinking here of Garnick’s two major projects with the Royal Women’s Hospital in 2007.

Far from being an agent of change, this perceptive and thoughtful observer is called forth by trailblazers, and commissioned to attend to what’s on the verge of being lost, in the inevitable march of progress.

Witnessing change is not a new role for the artist. However Garnick invites us to appreciate the formal qualities of fading technologies rather than aggrandising the new. In Liquid Gold Peter Garnick photographs irrigation hardware in Victoria’s foodbowl, now over a century old and ripe for replacement. While the subject of these photographs is human activity, landscape is the overriding reference.

Garnick finds music within engineering—where repetition and structure form a rhythmic armature upon which the promiscuous ravages of moisture, oxygen and time dance across the base notes of rusty structures, or where light and water perform in counterpoint to function.

In parts of the Liquid Gold series Garnick’s lens is seemingly disembodied, bringing us close to glorious interfaces between steel, water and light and where we lose all sense of proportion and scale. In other photographs Garnick steps back to give an idea of the broader context of irrigation and how it touches the economy of the region in the production of butter, milk and fruit.

Liquid Gold invites us to appreciate that the vast landscape of human endeavour, like that of the natural world, is made up of an infinitesimal number of smaller landscapes also worthy of our attention.”

Naomi Cass, Director, Centre for Contemporary Photography
From ‘Deja Views’ ‘

We have here on the walls tonight a journey through Peter’s construction sites, industrial scapes and some surreal views. These graphic modern scenes are at odds with the traditional printmaking process that Peter uses, the Photogravure, an ancient photographic method that dates back to early last century.

Peter is a photographer, so why not make straight photographs? Photogravure is hands on, get ink under your fingernails type of process. Here Peter has made the print, in all senses of the word ‘to make’. He has created physical, tactile objects that emphasize the materiality in photography – like it used to be – the image does not take life until it is on the printed media. The image takes power from these tactile qualities.

The images are captured digitally, enhanced to their utmost quality and then digitally transferred on to the plates, before they are etched. This combination of the latest in digital image creation with traditional hand made printing materials is what makes this process so alluring to practicing artist today. And it is in fact what has bought printmaking into the 21st century and kept our etching presses alive!

I would like to congratulate Peter for an outstanding exhibition.