Drawing on varied interests including history, political philosophy and storytelling; Peter Hanmer creates allegorical, dystopian and strangely disturbing sculptural works. His work reflects his interest in the power of art as a cultural and political critique; as described by the literary theorist Terry Eagleton:
…one of the great humanist functions of culture is to open some daylight between its self and the rest of our social practices and institutions so it could actual operate as a critique of them .
In May 2018 Peter unveiled Plato’s Lair a site-specific installation at Cheeseburn Sculpture Garden in Northumbria, UK, commissioned as part of the Gillian Dickinson North East Young Sculptor of The Year award 2017. The work is heavily influenced by Plato’s story The Allegory of the Cave featured in Plato’s seminal work The Republic.
Within the large Victorian potting shed in the grounds of the centuries old Cheeseburn Grange House and Gardens a miniature society of bird like figures resides. Some seem content to watch television or picnic in the damp and dusty gloom, while others desperately try to escape into the sunlight looking for life beyond the potting shed. Guards police all the exits however and tyrannical leaders direct events in this tiny dictatorship.
In the Allegory of the Cave Plato asks us to imagine people shackled all their lives facing the wall of a cave where flickering shadows play; how this would become their only reality. The allegory is intended to provoke questions about the nature of reality; how we believe we know the world through our experience of it, but that this may be subliminally or forcefully influenced and distorted. Peter’s figurative works aim to test and often satirise accepted wisdom and conventional truths. Human constructs such as the hierarchy of human over animal for example. The otherness of the birdlike beings provides a distance for the viewer who observes a different yet identifiable character; an allegory for themselves, therefore transforming the potting shed into miniature replication of their own society.
Peter was born in 1992 in Northumberland where he is currently based. He studied at the University of the Creative Arts in Farnham, where he received a BA (Hons) in Fine Art in May 2014. He has gone on to complete a residency in his home county at the whistle art stop in Haltwhistle (2015) and has exhibited his work at a variety of galleries and venues both locally and internationally. Select group exhibitions include, Digital Citizen – The Precarious Subject, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (2019) The Discerning eye, Mall Galleries, London (2014); Modern Panic VI, Apiary Studios, London (2015); FLUX Exhibition, The Royal College of Art, London (2015); utopia:dystopia, Fringe Arts Bath Festival (2016); and MFA Connect, Victoria University, Victoria, Canada, (2018). In May 2018 Peter opened Plato’s Lair, a site-specific installation at Cheeseburn Sculpture Garden in Northumbria, UK, commissioned as the winner of the Gillian Dickinson North East Young Sculptor of The Year award 2017. He graduated with Distinction from the MFA Fine Art program at Newcastle University in September 2018.
He recently graduated with Distinction from the Master of Fine Art program at Newcastle University in September 2018.
 iqsquared. Terry Eagleton in Conversation with Roger Scruton. Accessed July 17, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOdMBDOj4ec.
CV & Education
Newcastle University: Master of Fine Art. Result: Distinction. Year Awarded: September 2018.
University for the Creative Arts, Farnham: Bachelor of Arts with Honours, Fine Art. Second Class- Upper Division, Mark: 69. Year Awarded: 28th May 2014.
Newcastle College: UAL Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art & Design. Year Awarded: 23rd May 2011.
Plato's Lair, Gillian Dickinson North East Young Sculptor of the Year Award 2017, Cheeseburn Sculpture Garden, Newcastle Upon Tyne. 19th of May - 2nd of September 2018.
Counter-Culture, Regressive Flight, Blackwell's art and bookshop, Newcastle upon Tyne, June 2015.
Digital Citizen - The Precarious Subject, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, 25 January – 16 June 2019.
Degree Show, Master of Fine Art, Newcastle University, 24th August - 6th September ?2018.
MFA Connect, Victoria University, Victoria, Canada, May 2018.
Your Space, Ex-Libris Gallery, Newcastle, 2018.
Interim Show, Master of Fine Art, Newcastle University, 18th August – 1st September 2017.
Gillian Dickinson North East Young Sculptor of the Year Award, Proposal Exhibition, Cheeseburn Sculpture Garden, Newcastle Upon Tyne. 20th – 29th of May 2017.
In the Company of Others, Hoults Yard, Newcastle Upon Tyne. 23nd February 2017.
Who are you and where are you bound?, Old Low Light Gallery, North Shields. 2nd February - 21st May 2017.
FLUX Exhibition, The Old Truman Brewery, London. 2nd - 6th November 2016.
utopia:dystopia, Walcot Chapel, Fringe Arts Bath Festival 2016, Bath. 27 May - 12 June 2016
Sacred Art, Aberglasney Gardens, South Wales. 29th of April- 5th May 2016.
FLUX Exhibition, The Royal College of Art, London. 11th - 14th December 2015.
Modern Panic VI, Apiary Studios, Hackney Road, London. 13th - 22nd of November 2015.
On Site, The Shed, Haltwhistle. 18th October - 22nd November 2015.
Hilton Docklands Hotel, London. 4th July 2015 – 2016.
Friends of the Hatton Summer Exhibition, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne. 26 June - 8 August 2015.
Exhibit Here's Summer Exhibition, Menier Gallery, London. 28th July - 1st August 2015.
Unnatural Curiosities, The Last Tuesday Society & The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities – London, 1st - 23rd April 2015.
Rare Art, Menier Gallery – London, 14th - 18th April 2015.
The Discerning eye 23rd exhibition, Mall Galleries - The Mall, London, 13th - 23rd November 2014. Piece chosen and curated by Helen Sumpter, Senior Editor of Art Review magazine.
Make/Believe: New Graduates in Art & Design James Hockey and Foyer Galleries, University for the Creative Arts Farnham, 15 September - 17 October 2014.
Liquid Brick, Beyond Limit Speed ii, The Strand Gallery - John Adam St, London, 21st – 27th July 2014.
Liquid Brick, Beyond Limit Speed i, A&D Gallery, Chiltern St, London, 24th June – 28th June 2014.
Facing Extinction Conference, University for The Creative Arts Farnham, 7 - 8 June 2014.
BA Degree Show, University For The Creative Arts Farnham, May 22nd - 6th June 2014.
Help! Savages Oxford House Gallery, Bethnal Green, London, 2nd – 7th April 2014.
Facing Extinction, Foyer Gallery, University for The Creative Arts Farnham, 7 March - 5 April 2014.
Liquid Brick (The Perfect System), The Arch Gallery, London, 3rd - 9th June 2013.
DERIVATIVE, Farnham Museum, Farnham, Surrey, 1st - 3rd February 2013.
Liquid Brick, Menier Gallery, London, 29th May - 2nd June 2012.
Winner of Gillian Dickinson North East Young Sculptor of the Year Award, 2017.
Shortlisted for the Foci magazine competition 2016.
Long listed for the Signature Art Prize, 2015.
Long listed for the Ranger House Summer exhibition and Competition, 2014.
Artist in Residence, Whistle Art Stop, Haltwhistle, Northumberland. Culminating in the group show 'On Site'. April 2015 – November 2015
Artist Talk, Art in Disguise Seminars, platform 504, London. 19th of November.
Artist Assistant, helping the artist Tessa Farmer set up her installation at the show 'Victoriana, The Art of Revival', Guildhall Art Gallery, London. 27th of August – 4th of September 2013.
Artist Assistant, to the artist Tessa Farmer at her studio in London, over a two week period. February 2013.