King Family Bursary Winner: Peter Adams

Posted on March 31, 2022

Peter Adams is an award winning painter born in Glasgow, Scotland. Raised in Toronto, he now lives and works in Collingwood, Ontario. He has a Film degree from Queen’s University, but now focuses all of his creative energy on his visual art practice. Adams has received numerous grants from the Ontario Arts Council and was a finalist in the Salt Spring National Art Prize in 2015. More recently, he was invited to participate in Brazil’s Labverde Arts Immersion Program and was shortlisted for the 2017 Kingston Prize – Canada’s national portrait competition.

Much of Peter’s work has been centred around human and natural landscapes intersecting. In Brazil, he painted the remarkably grand and complex Amazon rainforest inside of handheld mint and cigar tins. He saw these pieces as tiny souvenir boxes which symbolized the human desire to always take something home from our travels, as well as echoing the desire of a scientist to contain a small specimen of a distinct ecosystem for further study. More recently, he has been making paintings within the uniquely beautiful packaging of Apple products, as a comment on the ubiquitousness of consumer packaging of all kinds, and an acknowledgement that the (essentially useless) packaging of many products is (strangely) part of the appeal of consuming the product itself. He also sees these pieces as symbolizing humanity’s changing relationship to the natural world, which more and more we are experiencing through miraculous pieces of technology.

Peter’s bursary project will bring this work to the Georgian Bay Land Trust’s Rose Island Nature Reserve. Peter will hike the trails of Rose Island, looking for artistic “specimens” that shed light on the unique flora, fauna and geology there. After returning to the studio, he will create larger paintings that reflect the island ecosystem on a much grander scale. With the input of conservationists, ecologists and geologists, he will then exhibit the specimen boxes and larger works with accompanying text exploring the significance of the depicted landscape. 

“I am thrilled to have received this year’s King Family Bursary in support of my Rose Island Specimen Project. With its distinctive geology, old growth forest and wetland area, I believe that Rose Island can teach us a great deal about the natural world, and our place in it. And it is the perfect landscape to further develop my ‘Specimen’ series. I think that these new works will create an interesting dialogue about how we value the land and how we relate to unaltered landscapes. I look forward to sharing this new body of work with the Georgian Bay Land Trust community!”

– Peter Adams