A Head In A Hive of Bees

Artwork: The Oyster Eye by Peter Ellis

Peter Ellis: The Oyster Eye 2007.
Ink, gouche, gold leaf on Japanese paper. 162 x 240 cm (installation).

A Head In A Hive of Bees: Selected Drawings by Peter Ellis

Exhibition dates: 28 June 2013 – 17 August 2013.

Open on Sunday 11 August 2013: RMIT Open Day 10.00am–4.00pm.

Opening night: Thursday, 27 June, 6.00pm-8.00pm. All welcome.

Opening address: The Hon Heidi Victoria MP, Minister for the Arts.

About the exhibition

A Head in A Hive of Bees showcases the artist’s idiosyncratic, surreal imagery and focuses on drawing as the core activity in his work.

This exhibition includes the recent series of large multi-paneled works on Japanese shikishi boards along side selected drawings spanning Ellis’s career including rarely seen sketchbooks and artist’s books.

Ellis’s imagery has its origins in automatic drawing that is spontaneous and a reflection of the spirit. He conjures strange animals and insects, alien characters and abstracted forms divined from subconscious thoughts often without pre-conceived idea.

Drawn directly from the imagination, these works are often intimate in scale, calligraphic and articulate simultaneously. They indicate Ellis’s long-standing involvement with a Dada and Surrealist philosophy.

Conscious analysis and research inspired by these drawings create another layer of associated imagery from a wide variety of sources.

The works in the exhibition bristle with Chinese and Japanese landscape references and scientific apparatus perhaps evidence of an experiment where science goes wrong.

A sense of mystery and metamorphosis pervades a scene waiting to be revealed. A cause and affect principal is in place. Things are changing.

Everywhere there are fractures of imagery in scale, time and form, voids, dis- junctions and connections. Some images disappear only to emerge unexpectedly elsewhere. Ellis’s drawings buzz with activity, emotion and the transformative power of an inventive imagination.

Public Program

L'Âge d'Or (The Golden Age) 1930 PG

Date: Thursday, 25 July 2013
Time: 5.30pm-7.00pm
Cost: Free

Peter Ellis will introduce the influential Surrealist film, L'Âge d'Or directed by Luis Buñuel. The second film collaboration between Buñuel and Salvador Dali, this revolutionary masterpiece of Surrealist cinema was banned for 50 years.

Peter Ellis artist floor talk

Date: Thursday, 1 August 2013
Time: 12.30pm-1.30pm
Cost: Free.

Bizarre animal forms, hybrid creatures inhabiting seemingly irrational psychological spaces. These are the images that have permeated artist Peter Ellis’ drawings for over 38 years.


Bookings essential for all RMIT Gallery events. See individual event pages for details.

25/07/2013 Film screening of L’Âge d’Or (The Golden Age) Artist Peter Ellis will introduce this the influential Surrealist film directed by Luis Buñuel.