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English artist, member of the Stuckists art group and gallery owner.
Peter McArdle was born in Tynemouth. He finished St. Aidan's RC School, Tyneside, in 1983, at which point he began to get sales for his paintings, which have supported him since. He gained a National Diploma in Art and Design at Newcastle College of Art and Design, 1983-85, then attended the University of Sunderland, from which he graduated in 1992 with Honours in Fine Art, though commenting he got "my arse well and truly kicked for being a figurative painter." He did atelier study with painter and poet Jeffrey Johnson in London the following year, then had a series of solo shows at the Llewellyn Alexander Gallery; most of his shows were sold out. From 1992, he showed at Mark Jason Fine Art in Bond Street, London.
In 1989, he was on the shortlist for the Winsor & Newton Young Artist Award. In 1997, during the Year of Visual Art, he was commissioned for work by the Tyne & Wear Development Corporation. He also received commissions from Arts Resource, Sunderland, and the City Council. From 1990, he participated also in group shows, including the Discerning Eye show at the Mall Galleries, London.
In 2003 he founded The Gateshead Stuckists group as "a response to the Baltic's nihilism", and was exhibited at the Stuckism International Gallery. He was a featured artist in The Stuckists Punk Victorian show at the Walker Art Gallery for the 2004 Liverpool Biennial, and was one of the ten "leading Stuckists" in Go West at Spectrum London gallery in 2006. In 2007, he was shown in I Won't Have Sex with You as Long as We're Married at the A Gallery.
In 2007, he became Head of the Foundation course at Northumberland College, and the Fine Art lecturer on the BA course there. He runs the Brockdam Gallery near Gateshead. He lives in the countryside in Northumberland in a Georgian farmhouse with his wife and two sons.
He is a dedicated worker, and has painted seven days a week and starting as early as 4 a.m. He paints in oil with traditional glazing techniques, taking six months or more per painting, sometimes working with a 000 ("cat's whisker") sable brush. A burnt umber underpainting can have up to seventeen layers of glazing. He rejects a third of the finished paintings.
Images are mostly one or several figures in an empty room, often seemingly unaware of each other's presence, and given titles that are equally enigmatic. He has said that the images "hover on the frontier between the familiar and the enigmatic, addressing a range of contemporary issues. They are an endless and imperceptible moving to and fro between dream and reality", and also that they draw on his personal experience, as well as art history and mass media popular culture, acknowledging the difficulty of his work, which requires time and engagement from the viewer.
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