Peter Ellis is Associate Professor and Discipline Leader in Painting within the RMIT, School of Art.
Peter is known for his innovative use of animal imagery and his Dada and Surrealist philosophy. He invents hybrid creatures, humanises existing animals, brings out the animal in people and combines characteristics in both always with an idiosyncratic or bizarre twist.
Research interests include: Contemporary Art; Ancient Art and Archaeology; The History, Literature, Art, and Theory of Dada and Surrealism; Drawing, Painting, Artists Books; The Natural World; and Free Music and Sound
Adam Lee, MA, “Social and Cultural Realities; The visual exploration of different social, cultural and spiritual experiences and environments in both the third world and the west, as metaphor for the human condition.”
Samuel Leach, MA, “The Value of Wealth; Representing Contemporary Corporate Space.”
Ian Woo, DFA, “Contrapuntal Delays: Multiplicity and temporality analyses of word, sound and image as a continuous presence in contemporary art.”
School of Art Research Clusters
Art and Environmental Sustainability
Art, Knowledge and Globalization
Peter has been awarded a BA with distinction (RMIT, 1978) and MA (RMIT, 1996) Titled: To explore the expressive possibilities of the new media with a view to extending the electro-mechanical means of reproduction to the edge of unfamiliar surreal territory.
Peter Ellis has produced paintings, drawings, prints, objects, books and multiples, since 1975.
He has held 16 solo exhibitions including ‘Arkhive; The Secret Language of sparks, selected works 1991–1995 at The RMIT Gallery in 1995.
His work has been selected for over 147 group exhibitions throughout Australia and in Japan, UK, USA, Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Germany. Including; Prints and Australia, pre settlement to the present day at The National Gallery of Australia 1989, Field to Figuration at the National Gallery of Victoria 1986, Backlash - The Australian Drawing Revival at The National Gallery of Victoria 1986, Diversity in Australian Art at The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama Japan 1987,’Other Worlds, Images of fantasy and fiction at the Queeensland Art Gallery 2003
Awards and Residencies include Australia Council, Visual Arts/craft Board overseas studio residency to New York USA 1993, Artist in Residence at the Victorian College of the Arts 1986.Awarded the Ninth R.M. Hamilton award 1992, the Newcastle Invitation Art Purchase award for painting 1988, and the Freemantle prize for Drawing 1986.
His work is cited in over 65 published books and catalogues and a further 92 journals, magazines and newspaper reviews, and is represented in most state galleries and in numerous regional, corporate and tertiary collections as well as private collections in Australia and internationally.
2002 Holiday In Minsk (Solo), Mass Gallery Melbourne
2002 The All Powerful Owl, The Window of Opportunity Gallery, RMIT University
2004 Paper Animals, animals as metaphore
2004 Multiple Miscellaneous Alliances, Clubs Project Space
2004 The 2004 Gonju International Art Fair, Lim-Lip Museum, Chugnam Korea curated by Dr. K. Young
2004 Three visions – Works by Greg Moncrieff, Peter Ellis, Robin Kingston, Sunshine Hospital
2004 45 Drawings, The Window of Opportunity Gallery RMIT University
2003 Other Worlds, Images of Fantasy and Fiction, Queensland Art Gallery, curated by D. Burnett
2003 Early works on Paper- By Jon Cattapan and Peter Ellis, Gallery Irascerble Melbourne
2003 J. Zimmer, The Crosley Gallery 1966–1980, Macmillan Lyre Bird Press 2003
2002 J. Duncan and L. Michael, Monash University Collection- Four Decades of Collecting, Monash University Museum of Art
Published Sound Works
2004 Sonic Zoo, an AND recording, recorded live by Dr. Phil Edwards, Peter Ellis, Jon Cattapan, The Victorian College of the Arts
2003 The Tuesday Sessions, an AND recording, Phil Edwards, Peter Ellis, Masterd by S. Mcphee, Decibel Sound, Melbourne
2005 The Domanique Segan Drawing Prize, Castlemaine Arts Festival
2005 Figment, Fragment, The Recent Prints by Heather Shimmen, Gallery 101 Collins St. Melbourne.
2004 The New Family, The Art of Adam Lee, Smyrnios Gallery, Melbourne
- Ellis, P. (2016). Ghosts of Cesky Krumlov In: Betwixt - Czeck and Slovak Film Festival 2016 Melbourne Australia
- Ellis, P. (2015). Sensitive Teeth In: Lurid Beauty: Australian Surrealism And Its Echoes Melbourne, Australia
- Ellis, P. (2015). Rabbit Painting In: Turn Up Your Radio Melbourne Australia
- Ellis, P. (2014). This year In: Superfictions 1. The Art Fair Murders Melbourne, Australia
- Ellis, P. (2013). Tableau In: Mix Tape 1980's Appropriation,Subculture, Critical Style Melbourne, Australia
- Ellis, P. (2013). Thermometer In: A Head in a Hive of Bees- Peter Ellis Selected Drawings Melbourne, Australia
- Ellis, P. (2012). Spider Writing In: Contemporary Australian Drawing 2. Drawing as Notation, Text and Discovery London, United Kingdom
- Ellis, P. (2011). Image Transmitted by ZiZi, Francis Picabia's Dog September 1942, Received by Peter Ellis April 2011 In: Boom Boom: Revisited, Neo-Dada Now Melbourne, Victoria
- Ellis, P. (2011). Shining Orchid In: Think Tank, International Artist's Books Melbourne, Victoria
- Ellis, P. (2011). The Oyster Eye In: Quiddity: Unpacking the RMIT Collection Melbourne Australia
3 PhD Current Supervisions and 1 Masters by Research Current Supervisions4 Prof Doc Completions and 2 PhD Completions and 4 Masters by Research Completions