Diasporas Makslas Centrs Center for Latvian Diaspora Art
Latvian Art


Peteris Ciemitis Born Perth, Western Australia, Australia 1959

Graduated Western Australian Institute of Technology with BA (Urban & Regional Planning) 1980; Curtin University Grad.Dip. (Urban & Regional Planning) 1988; studied at Claremont School of Art 1989-1992. Commenced exhibiting in 1992, with solo, and various joint and group showings. Received numerous awards in Western Australia. Has been finalist in the Prospect Portrait Prize 2007 and the Archibald Prize 2007 and 2008. Paintings in various public and corporate collections in Australia, including the City of South Perth, Ballarat Grammar, and the Pilbara Development Corporation. Is also represented in Valmiera Gallery in Latvia. Resides in Perth.

Peteris Ciemitis painting
Own Head, Paša galva,  2007
2007 Mixed media on canvas / Jaukta technika uz audekla 122x61cm. Larger>>
The modernist idea of the “project of the self” in contemporary portraiture intrigues me. More than ever, we invent our outward identities through wilful creation. In portraiture, this is often represented by contextualising the subject; through their juxtaposition with metaphoric settings or objects.

Whilst this is certainly a valid idea, in my current work I attempt a different path; to represent identity unaided by context. I have become keenly interested in attempting to express a sense of being; a sense of our experience of the flux of thought, emotion and physicality. I attempt to do this within the process of improvisational mark-making overlain on a representational framework of facial display and gesture.

I typically employ the fluidity of watercolour and diluted acrylic, counterpointed with dry drawing media. I endeavour to render subjects in transparent and irresolute terms, erase and render again to build upon the idea of transience.

My visual influences derive from many traditions including Latvian watercolour, through Austrian Expressionism to Bacon’s abstracted figures. However, my greater inspirational wellspring at present is music. I am fascinated by the process of improvisation and the ability of musicians to disconnect their psyches from ‘self monitoring’ their performance and find “the zone”.
Peteris Ciemitis portrait of journalist Peter Greste 2015
Portrait of journalist Peter Greste, 2015. Larger>>
Peteris Ciemitis portrait of musician Paul Grabowsky 2008
Portrait of musicia Paul Grabowsky, 2008. Larger>>


Artists whose work is pictured at top of page from left to right:
Daumants Šnore, Guna S. Mundheim, Marija Muceniece-Induse


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