Into the Wilds is an incredible collection of hand-drawings by Irish artist, Nigel Peake. Created over the course of three months, Peake uses illustrative architectural drawings to tell a story of the remote countryside he grew up on. Depicting footprints of a single bird or aerial drawings of the farm field, Peake expertly moves between scales. Pattern, fragments, structure and order are key elements in the graphic language that he uses to tell his story.
Peake structures the book into four chapters. The first chapter – The land is made from many small parts – looks at elements that make up the larger landscape. Drawings of single hay barrels or large farm field conditions introduce Peake’s incredible understanding of scale and pattern. He describes the countryside as a place where things that fall down “become a part of the ground”.
In the second chapter, The barn structure stands alone, surrounded by discarded and ordered fragments, Peake explores the ideas introduced in the receding chapter. He depicts patterns of wood shingles and two-by-fours, fencing, muddy tire tracks, and collapsed barns – elements that over time become as much a part of the landscape as the land itself.
Using the same language in chapter three, The Field: the patterns and natural occurrences that can happen within it, he explores a broader image of the landscape that houses the Barn structure and the land that is made from many small parts.
Peake has an incredible ability to create complex drawings from seemingly ordinary objects. Using line weight, colour and sophisticated perspectives, he brings excitement and beauty to an otherwise simple-looking landscape.
In the last chapter, Scale The Land from afar and up close, Peake’s drawings zoom in and out of the landscape, showing the movement of people and birds and the relationship between the land and the water. He uses opposing elements – such as order and disorder, natural and built, inanimate and alive, shapes and fragments – to tell his story of a countryside that is far away from the coded and prescribed patterns of the city.
Peake’s series of drawings are stunning. They have a quietness about them that is no doubt a part of the remote landscape, but at the same time they are strong. And although they are presented as a series, each drawing could easily stand on its own. Peake blends traditional architectural styles with an illustrative landscape style to create his own language. His precise line work, playful colours, and skewed perspectives, lead the reader through an engaging and eye-opening story of his remote Irish landscape.