Vale Peter Maloney, a brilliant artist and beloved member of the School of Art & Design community.
It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Peter Maloney. For many decades he has been an important and active member of the Canberra Arts Community, and until 2012, a Senior Lecturer in the Painting Workshop at the ANU School of Art & Design.
Peter was a wonderful colleague and teacher and, in his retirement, remained a mentor and friend to so many of us here at the SOAD. His sharp intellect, wicked sense of humour, insatiable curiosity, in-depth knowledge of art, passion for music, literature and life connected him with so many people from around the world. His energy, influence and warmth will never be forgotten by those who knew and loved him. His extensive catalogue of paintings, photography, prints, collages, drawings, sound, video works and writings will continue to inspire future generations. Peter was a prolific and committed artist; even in the lengthy illness he endured, he was vibrant and untiringly creative. While his paintings and works on paper can be described as ‘linear abstractions’ his colourful, gestural and expressionist work is often underpinned by a conceptual exploration of the spontaneous, personal, and absurd through word play and gay male iconography. As Peter wrote, ‘this dialogue [is] related to issues present in my own experience of the world; sometimes personal & private and other times social & political.’ In the recent publication Fugitive Text, 2022, (M.33 Melbourne Perimeter with essays by Shaune Lakin and Lynne Tillman), his images and text explore memory, time and place, serving as a testimony to Peter’s experience of love and loss during the 1980s’ HIV/AIDS pandemic. Peter also lived with HIV, but it was an unrelated illness that caused his health to decline. His work will be exhibited posthumously in the 18th Adelaide Biennale of Australian Art, curated by José Da Silva, opening at the Art Gallery of South Australia, March 2024. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Peter’s husband Mark Bayly and to his family and friends.
Text by Dr Erica Seccombe, Senior Lecturer, ANU School of Art & Design.