Looking with Fresh Eyes: Noosa Regional Gallery

Image source: Photographer Warwick Gow

Michael Brennan discovers how a local artist uncovers the beauty that is hidden in plain sight.

Most people in the Noosa National Park are going somewhere: Tea Tree Bay; The Fairy Pools; Hell’s Gate; A-Bay. Like a line of mission-focused ants, they course in single file in both directions, either around a circuit or to a place. It’s only when they arrive at the park-sanctioned destination that they really stop and take in their surrounds.

But that’s not the case with Peter Hudson. The seasoned Sunshine Coast-based artist spent some extended time immersed in the headland mid-last year, stopping to train his attention on an environment he’d – surprisingly – seldom visited across his 30+ years living on the Coast.

Perhaps it’s this relative unfamiliarity with such a well-visited destination – right there in his backyard – that imbues his paintings of the place with such an energy and vitality that goes beyond the postcard vistas we’re all so familiar with.

There’s a compelling intimacy that can only come from careful looking, and the unassuming scale of the works he makes invites us to do the same.

His attention to the ocean’s liquidy details of movement and light (I know ‘liquidy’ isn’t a word – but it should be), are as thrilling as the spectacle of a cresting wave. And a tangle of trees becomes as irresistible as the iconic outlook across Laguna Bay.

These paintings are largely made on site (I’ve always thought the term ‘en plein air’ sounded pretentious outside of France) with a custom-designed portable studio setup allowing Hudson to really get in amongst the spaces he’s set out to capture.

This proximity to the subject, combined with his skill with his tools, gives the elements he paints a palpability that makes you feel like you’re almost there. And the immediacy and restraint of his brushwork captures the reality that what we’re looking at is always in flux.

Hudson modestly claims that he’s not setting out to do anything new. He’s just trying to make good, honest paintings of places and things his eye is drawn to. But perhaps that’s not entirely fair or true, as these works are stuffed with a freshness that puts a flutter in your chest.

It’s just what he does – evidenced by a survey exhibition of scale and accompanying monograph at UniSC Art Gallery in 2022. And this exhibition – which also includes a couple of side jaunts to other equally alluring locales from across the region – continues to give us a glimpse of our world through fresh eyes.

24 February to 14 April

Peter Hudson: Right Place / Right Time
Press Gang: Pressed Into Place
Michele Rudder: Creativity Has No Limits

Noosa Regional Gallery, 9 Pelican Street, Tewantin


About the Author /


Director of Noosa Regional Gallery and described as an ‘accidental curator’ this prize-winning painter and sculptor has moved from creating works to curating them. It all began when he opened The Trocadero Art Space in Footscray in an effort to build an arts community in the area and 14 years later it is still standing we are lucky to have him taking the arts to a whole new level in our region.

Post a Comment