Peter Adams // Windgrove, Tasmania

The Peace Bus, on artist Peter Adams' property, Windgrove - on the Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

The Peace Bus, on artist Peter Adams’ property, Windgrove – on the Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite


Artist Peter Adams at home in Tasmania. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Artist Peter Adams at home in Tasmania. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Peter Adams is the genuine article. I drove a long and beautiful drive out of Hobart to the Tasman Peninsula to meet him and even had a long sighing moment as I drove past the tiny town of Koonya, where I spent a night playing music, talking philosophy and hatching forest blockade plans with new friends from the mainland when I was 21 – unknowingly with my future husband. So I’m already in the mood for nostalgia when I arrive.

Peter Adams’ home, Windgrove, is hard to describe in words or pictures – despite being 100 acres of picturesque beauty in one of the most incredible corners of the planet, I am stumbling through my words to convey the sheer enormity of the time and energy this man has given to this tiny dot on the map. Nestled on rugged cliffs and coastline, looking out over Roaring Beach, Storm Bay and beyond – it feels remote, expansive. Like you’re on the edge of the world. Peter Adams has worked for many years, re-vegetating and sculpting the landscape he’s called home for the last 22 years.  It is mind-altering stuff for me, a person who has never stopped moving, putting my energy into fleeting ideas that give me fast returns. Adams has created a subtle world of his own making, working with the materials the land offers and creating sculptures that reference our place in the geological strata- all reminders of our miniscule moment here and the perspective this brings. He shares this with others through the MONA Art-Nature tours and is gracious host to many artists, who might spend a few weeks or months in the Peace Bus. He has also set up his home to accommodate workshops with other Tasmanian artists that span weekends.

Peter Adams’ preoccupation with peace and contemplation seems at odds with the art world today – full of quick tricks, hard-edged ambition and the mad scramble to the top of the heap. Photographing his work on the ground floor gallery at the Art Gallery of Western Australia a while ago, I had no idea how his work ‘fit’ but after seeing his home and outdoor studio, it all makes sense. It’s tactile and needs human hands to take stones, turn them in your hand, feel the way the wood and the stone move together after months of minute adjustments and sanding –  goaded by Adams intense desire to fit these ancient materials together, perfectly, so that they are forever bonded.

I love visiting artists like Adams, people who have a pure compulsion to create at any cost, for whom there is no back up plan. The motivation that wells up from deep within to battle through works that may take him over a year to create, working full time around a stone that is hundreds of thousands of years old to create a cradle for it to lay in. Time is different here at Adams’ place. The jurassic, thoracic, they all live here and are acknowledged thoughtfully and carefully. Projects that Adams undertakes on his property are decades long and can involve the planting of thousands of trees in a particular formation, so that it may be seen as a keyhole from the air (I didn’t have funding for a helicopter ride – this time!). His Peace Garden is a sculpture garden in it’s truest form, where you can be inside the artist’s idea, this one meanders and takes the viewer on a guided tour of the past, present and future. I couldn’t help but think of another peace focussed exhibition –  the Yoko Ono show at the MCA in Sydney, War is Over, if You Want It – which I visited early last year.  One of my favourite works, her 1965 Cut Piece. The simple message from both Yoko Ono and Peter Adams; that destruction is easy, peace is the real challenge. And it is worth working for.

The Peace Garden, overlooking Roaring Beach on artist Peter Adams' Tasmanian property, Windgrove. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

The Peace Garden, overlooking Roaring Beach on artist Peter Adams’ Tasmanian property, Windgrove. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Peter Adams' work inside his home in Tasmania, referencing the migration of refugees by boat to Australian shores. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Peter Adams’ work inside his home in Tasmania, referencing the migration of refugees by boat to Australian shores. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Inside artist Peter Adams' Tasmanian home, on the Tasman Peninsula. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Inside artist Peter Adams’ Tasmanian home, on the Tasman Peninsula. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

A sculpture by Peter Adams in the artist's home in Tasmania. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

A sculpture by Peter Adams in the artist’s home in Tasmania. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

In the Peace Garden at Peter Adams' property is a 6 metre high hand carved sculpture made by Adams partly in response to the nearby Port Arthure Massacre in 1999. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

In the Peace Garden at Peter Adams’ property is a 6 metre high hand carved sculpture made by Adams partly in response to the nearby Port Arthure Massacre in 1999. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Inside a sculpture in the Peace Garden, made by artist Peter Adams on the South East Tasmanian coast on his property, Windgrove.  Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Inside a sculpture in the Peace Garden, made by artist Peter Adams on the South East Tasmanian coast on his property, Windgrove. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Work in progress in artist Peter Adams' outdoor studio in Tasmania on the Tasman Peninsula.Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Work in progress in artist Peter Adams’ outdoor studio in Tasmania on the Tasman Peninsula.Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Details of art works at Peter Adams' property, Windgrove in Tasmania. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Details of art works at Peter Adams’ property, Windgrove in Tasmania. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Peter Adams holds a stone, part of a sculpture he made by slowly carving and sanding to create a perfect cradle for it's form. Shown inside the artist's home on the Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Peter Adams holds a stone, part of a sculpture he made by slowly carving and sanding to create a perfect cradle for it’s form. Shown inside the artist’s home on the Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Inside artist Peter Adams' Tasmanian home, where he holds artist's weekend workshops. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Inside artist Peter Adams’ Tasmanian home, where he holds artist’s weekend workshops. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Details inside artist Peter Adams' Tasmanian home. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Details inside artist Peter Adams’ Tasmanian home. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Details outside artist Peter Adams' Tasmanian home. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Details outside artist Peter Adams’ Tasmanian home. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Peter Adams' Tasmanian home includes many of his artworks. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Peter Adams’ Tasmanian home includes many of his artworks. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Where did you come from and how did you come to Windgrove?
I came from America in 1985 when I was invited by UTas, School of Art to lecture in furniture design. My intention back then was to just come for one year and then go back to North Carolina where I had a fairly successful studio practice in one-off sculptural furniture. But, here I am still in Tasmania 30 years later.
Tell me about why you feel so drawn to the idea of peace and a little about the artworks in the sculpture garden….
Even before I was an artist, I was interested in Peace. When I graduated from Harvard University in 1968 I joined the Peace Corps and went to Korea for two years. I was also a conscientious objector to the Viet Nam war.The Peace Garden primarily is a result of the Port Arthur massacre, but I was also motivated by the suicide of 4 friends and the ongoing destruction of the earth. Hence, the focus on three aspects of peace: 1. Peace between humans 2. Peace within oneself 3. Peace between humanity and the rest of the living world.There are three components to the Peace Garden: The Ancestral Midden, The Split Rock, The Womb of the Earth. They respectively represent the past, the present and the future.

How do you reflect on the way your work goes out of this place, where it is so connected and becomes an artwork out of context, following it’s own story without you?

Like most artists, we accept that our children/our creations have to leave home. My only regret is when they are in a museum and people can’t touch them.

See a video about Adams in Tasmania’s ‘Behind The Scenery’ campaign.
Kangaroos on Peter Adams' Tasman Peninsula property, Windgrove, where he has been re-vegetaiting for the last 22 years. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Kangaroos on Peter Adams’ Tasman Peninsula property, Windgrove, where he has been re-vegetaiting for the last 22 years. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

 

Comments

  1. 3

    says

    Peter Adams what a inspiration i still remember the beautiful bench in the wa art gallery it must be him , beautiful photos Bo

  2. 6

    says

    Peter you are my eco artist spiritual hero! I have the greatest admiration and respect for your integrity, fine eye, skilled hands and dedicated spirit-life. You are a true Full Bloomer, Gardener, of land and place, Artist extraordinaire, Lover that knows no bounds and Spirit-Weaver of place, people and all. My heart is filled with gratitude, appreciation and admiration, Elizabeth Murray

  3. 7

    says

    This author and photographer sees/hears/knows the beauty that is Peter Adams, and the profoundly inspiring property that he has built up over the years. The arts serve to invoke the creativity of everyone and Peter (and this author) offer that service.

Trackbacks

  1. […] PETER ADAMS // WINDGROVE My Design Satellite article about the Tasmanian artist, Peter Adams who lives on an incredible property called Windgrove on the Tasman Peninsula, has been published in full by Earthlines Magazine in the UK, a magazine about the culture of nature. Read from the archives here. […]

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