Peter Collins ARCA 1923-2001. (Associate of the Royal College of Art) was born in Inverness, Scotland. His work could have a Surrealist quality. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art, 1952–6, and gained a Post-Diploma Scholarship and an Andrew Grant Major Travelling Scholarship in 1957, studying in Italy, 1957–8. He lectured at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee. He was a professional member of SSA.
Collins’s first job was at an advertising agency, in the commercial studio, whilst he attended evening art classes. World War II interrupted his career and he joined the Royal Artillery (of the British Army), teaching painting and drawing in the Education Corps – whilst simultaneously teaching at St Martin’s School of Art, part time.
Following the war Collins studied at the Royal College of Art, winning a scholarship. Leaving in 1950 he then worked as a commercial artist producing some well-known posters for clients including British Railways and British European Airways. He was the Art Director at Odhams Press and spent time designing for both ICI and Shell.
With his wife Georgette he created the ‘Bacombe Galleries’ in Sussex, converting a group of buildings. In 1975 they again converted buildings, this time Stanley Studios in Chelsea which were scheduled for redevelopment; many artists had worked there, probably the most famous being Elizabeth Frink. Combining an artist’s studio and a single residence at Stanley Studios the Collinses were immersed in Chelsea’s art scene and proceeded to fill the place with art, antiques, scupture and curios.
Group shows included Arts Council of Northern Ireland, New Charing Cross Gallery in Glasgow and in 1970 he was included in Scottish Arts Council show Seven Painters in Dundee, where he lived. Had a solo show at Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, 1968. Aberdeen Art Gallery, Scottish Arts Council and Edinburgh Education Authority hold examples.
These artworks were displayed at a solo exhibition by the artist in the Grange Museum & Art Gallery, Rottingdean, Sussex, UK in September 1981. Some were also displayed at the Balcomee Galleries, Stanley Studios, Park Walk, Chelsea S.W.10. United Kingdom in his solo show entitled "Chelsea Birds".
The elusive human figure - with all of its nuances and particularities - is constantly changing and in motion. Whether it is the aging process of the movement of parts, nothing ever seems to remain in the same state. Painting the figure or at least capturing the figure on canvas or in clay is just as fleeting as the figure itself. Sometimes, attempting to do so has us wondering if it is even possible to recreate these moments at all. With art, no matter the medium, we're able to see what the artist captures or makes of the form. But even more, we are able to see how form manifests itself in the first place - whether it is through light, through its relationship to its environment or even through its own self-awareness.
However, it's not just the figure that much of these works are depicting - it is the feeling, the energy, the mood, the overall being. Even the setting comes into play with some figurative art, helping bring to life the where, when, why and how that we're all trying to solve or understand.
From Leonardo da Vinci's 'Vitruvian Man', where the figure is broken down to almost a science, to Pablo Picasso's 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon' where nothing may be as it seems, there are endless possibilities to express the human figure.