Michael Peckham was born in Wales, studied medicine in Cambridge and London and had his first solo exhibition soon after qualifying as a doctor. He worked in Paris before being appointed Professor at the Royal Marsden Hospital where he became known internationally for his work on testicular cancer and lymphoma. He was knighted in 1995 and in 2017 in an essay ‘One Life’ he wrote about the fusion of art and oncology in his life.
From the 1960’s to the present time, Michael Peckham has produced paintings and collages with a distinct aesthetic that reflects his unusual experience. Working across formats and media—oil, acrylic, paper, foam board, sackcloth, sand, terracotta, and flint—his compositions explore from his particular perspective the nature of embodiment and the structure of the natural world. The title of his book Balance of the Interior, is taken from the theme in his 2017 exhibition on human forms and imprints and the body as a zone of concealment and mappable space. Rooted in a confluence of interests his work is driven by a desire to get through to substance, to understand and visualise intricate bodies without diminishing their complexity. His paintings and collages explore the nature of embodiment or what bodies mean; not strictly the human form – although many of his paintings are about human structure – but also bodies in the natural world, those of insects, trees and landscapes.
In an article for the Lancet in February 2018 Michael talks about the coming together of art and science in his work - you can download a PDF of the article 'Art and oncology: one life' by clicking here.
All images © Michael Peckham 2016
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