A storytelling jeweller, working alone on Banks Peninsula, with one eye focused on the artistic heritage of Europe and the other trained on the mythic potential of his local landscape. Welcome to the work (and world) of Peter McKay, one of this country's senior jewellers.


From his early days as an apprentice of Kobi Bosshard, trained in the techniques and aesthetics of European goldsmithing, to the appropriation of European modernism and Medieval and Renaissance art that marked the achievement of his mature style in the early 1990s, to his recent investigation of what's come to be known as Canterbury Gothic, McKay's practice can seem contradictory, different genres with nothing in common.


Taking its name from the Metaphysical Heart series, a long-running narrative in brooch form, Metaphysical Heart: Jewellery by Peter McKay is a retrospective of over three decades of jewellery, surveying the diversity and extent of McKay's work, and looking for the common threads of technique and concept that bind his work together.




Damian Skinner is a freelance art historian and curator based in Gisborne. He has curated exhibitions for galleries in Aotearoa and internationally. His research interests include modernism, customary Māori art and contemporary jewellery. His most recent book, titled Another Modernism: Māoritanga and Māori Modernist Art is being published by Auckland University Press in February 2008.

Peter McKay, Square Brooch (After John Panting), 1976-77.