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Aaron McPeake: Cast

When I first heard one of Aaron McPeake’s bronzes struck, the sound transported me to a navigation buoy anchored at the mouth of Sag Harbour on Long Island. All that distance I thought, and the bowl still firmly on the table in South London. Some time after this first hearing I thought they must have had either the same or a very similar wavelength, the bowl, the bell and McPeake, that is.

“Cast” which is what McPeake’s bronzes and shadows are, is a broad brush of a word that takes us from lost souls on desert islands, to groups of actors held together by a script, through fortune telling and expulsion, to fishing lines. From hot to cold from containment to reaching out. It must be the cross between the energy that sits within molten metal and the use of the word in conjunction with a shaping process that enables it to connect the really hot to cool shade.

Sound, heat and light find their way to us through the air we breathe. Sound travels at about half the muzzle velocity of an AK47 bullet and light about half a million times faster than the same bullet, understanding what’s going on in an artists work I suspect comes more slowly.

What I like about McPeake’s work is the way it presents big themes in apparently humble poetically tied packages. Like orthodox icons his sculptures and photographs serve to focus our thoughts and to make us think reflectively. The chime and the shadow work within McPeake’s work, act, as passing distillations of their objects and in doing so, become in my mind mono-tonal auto-portraits of, both the objects and their maker.

Stephen Farthing
Wednesday 28th March 2012

Aaron McPeake, Bio

Aaron McPeake
b. 1965, Belfast, N Ireland

In 2002, McPeake had to abandon a long career in stage lighting design due to the loss of most of his eyesight and returned to arts education and practice on a full time basis. He received a first class Honours Degree in Arts, Design and Environment from Central Saint Martins (2005).

His 2012 exhibition was part of his PhD submission and viva at Chelsea College of Art and Design. Works could be viewed in: The Grounds, The Morgue, Room CG10 and The Old College Library at Chelsea.

McPeake works with numerous media from bronze casting to film, photography and sound. His work places emphasis on the possibility for many types of readings and he views the process of making artwork as akin to writing poetry - where the visual imagination is integral to both its making and reception.

McPeake’s PhD thesis, Nibbling at Clouds - The Visual Artist Encounters Aventitious Blindness, is an holistic study of the impacts vision loss has on the visual artist. The thesis draws on the experiences of a panel of artists (who lost eyesight in later life) and includes his own experience as well as how he has developed his own practice. The resulting artworks are a consequence of engaging with subjective themes and making processes which have been mutually informative.

He has received a number of private and public art and design commissions and has exhibited widely since 1997. In 2011 he won the Cass Sculpture Prize with his bell bronze works: Some Cuts Resonate and in 2013 McPeake was commissioned by Camden Arts Centre, London.

Recent Conferences

2013 Drawing Out Program, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Writing, Drawing and Memory, an exploration of the significance of writing and drawing written and experienced from a visually impaired perspective (read more)

2013 Thames Danube, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, UK

Contextualising Recalculating, a collaboration between CCW Graduate School, University of the Arts London, and the Hungarian University of Fine Arts, Doctorate School (read more)

Recent Exhibitions

2014 Spike Island
Residency Outcomes
Solo Show @ Annual Open

2014 St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol
12 Apostles

Installation of a sound sculpture in the 11th century shrine area

2013-2014 Camden Arts Centre
Toll (interactive bronze sculpture)

Garden Commission, work specially calibrated in collaboration with the Whitechapel Bell Foundry (read more)

2012 Brussels Art Factory
Hospitable Plains

Group Show
Presented by Blood Orange Collective

2012 CHELSEA space
Singing Bowl Chamber Orchestra

Solo Show ( sound clips can be heard here / read more)

2012 Numerous Venues - Millbank
Nibbling at Clouds

Solo Show

2012 Cape Farewell Triangle Gallery Millbank
Toll (Film 16mins)

Group Show

2012 Art on Fire
Camberwell Space, London

Daniel Baker, Eleanor Bowen, Maria Christoforatou, Jenny Gordon, Aaron McPeake, Carolyn Flood & Dino Alfier, Rob Mullender, Paul Ryan (read more)

2011 Cass Sculpture Prize
Some Cuts Resonate

Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground

2010 Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground
Untitled (Wishes 1-4)

Solo Show

2008 Curzon Soho
Exhibition & Screening
Solo work

2008 Chelsea Silent Reading Room
Translating Memories

Solo Show

2006 Lethaby Gallery
Group Show

2005 The Window Gallery, London
Out of Reach

Solo Show

2004 Hanbury Gallery, London
Horse as a Figure of Space

Group Show (for Herm├Ęs)

2004 The Tram Tunnel (Holborn London)
Thought Crime

Group Show

2003 The Window Gallery, London
Overseas Development

Solo Show

1997 Nottingham Playhouse
Love, The Thames and Other Things

Solo Show

Aaron McPeake:

Winner of Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary 2013

Residency at Spike Island Bristol

January, February and March 2014


26 April - 27 October 2013
Extended into 2014

Garden Commission
Camden Arts Centre
London (read more)