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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
Pimlico, 28th March 2012

Aaron McPeake, Biography

Dr Aaron McPeake (MRsS, FHEA)
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.


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)

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)

Exhibitions include:

VII Bienial de Arte Contemporaneo
Centro Centro, Madrid, Spain

Collaborative Experiments
The Old Castlemaine Gaol, Victoria, Australia

Sensing Culture
The Beaney Museum, Canterbury

Same Same but Different
Yinka Shonibare's Guest Projects, London

Sheep Bell Orchestra
El Arreciado, Toledo, Spain

Sweet Gongs Vibrating
San Diego Art Institute, Group Show

Shape Open
Yinka Shonibare Guest Projects, Group Show

Staff Show
Triangle Gallery, Group Show

The Sound of their Deaths in Australia
Henry Moore Plinth, Millbank, London

Camden Arts Centre, London, Solo Installation

Residency Outcomes
Spike Island, Bristol & Shape Gallery, London

12 Apostles
St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, Solo Installation

Camden Arts Centre, London, Solo Installation (read more)

Hospitable Plains
Brussels Art Factory, Group Show

Singing Bowl Chamber Orchestra
CHELSEA space, Solo Show
(sound clips can be heard here / read more)

Bullet Bells for Cape Farewell
Triangle Gallery, Group Show

Some Cuts Resonate
Cass Prize, Cass Sculpture Foundation

Borders and Edges
Wimbledon Space

Untitled (Wishes 1-4)
Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground, Solo Show

Exhibition & Screening
Curzon Soho, Solo work

Translating Memories
Chelsea Silent Reading Room, Solo Show

Lethaby Gallery, Group Show

Out of Reach
The Window Gallery, London, Solo Show

Horse as a Figure of Space
Hanbury Gallery, London (for Hermés)

Thought Crime
The Tram Tunnel (Holborn London), Group Show

Overseas Development
The Window Gallery, London, Solo Show

Love, The Thames and Other Things
Nottingham Playhouse, Solo Show
Davies Street Gallery London Institute

Aaron McPeake:

Please Touch the Art
Mosesian Center for the Arts, Boston, USA
May – Sept 2019

VII Bienal de Arte Contemporáneo
Centro Centro, Madrid
June – Sept 2018

Collaborative Experiments
The Old Castlemaine Gaol, Victoria, Australia
2018 – 2019

Sensing Culture
The Beaney Museum Canterbury
January – March 2018

Same Same But Different
Guest Projects Space
November 2017

Sweet Gongs Vibrating
San Diego Art Institute
March – May 2016

Garden Commission
Camden Arts Centre, London
(read more)

Residency at Spike Island, Bristol
January – March 2014

26 April – 27 October 2013
Extended into 2014

Winner of Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary 2013