Powditch was at the forefront of Australian pop art and his work widely recognised for his depictions of the female form. First showing his work in 1966, he enjoyed immediate notoriety with his bikini-clad subjects that were a celebration of Australian beach culture. Powditch’s most famous works, known as the Sun Torso series, were begun in 1970 when he was 28. By 1972, he had become a household name.
Powditch started his painting studies at East Sydney Technical School of Art and Design, now the National Art School, but he only stayed for one year moving on to study sculpture under Lyndon Dadswell as well as going on to study painting at John Olsen’s Bakery Art School. Other artists to mentor Powditch included Fred Williams, John Passmore, and John Brack.
Powditch′s stellar career has seen him participate in many major exhibitions including, Australian Art Today, which toured South East Asia (1970), Australian Prints at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (1972), 1st Biennale of Sydney (1973), and Recent Australian Art at the AGNSW (1973). Amongst the many awards he has won (which include nine between 1972-74 alone), Powditch was awarded the Sulman Prize in Sydney in 1972. In 1973, he was the recipient of an Australian Council Grant to live and work in New York for a year. In 1981, Powditch was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to art.
As well as being a major Australian artist, Powditch has also made a significant contribution as an art educator. He has spent much of his working life teaching art as this is where he thought he could make a difference.
Today, Peter Powditch remains an artist whose images are familiar to generations. His place is secure as an iconic Sydney master whose works will forever have a place in the lexicon of Australian art.
Powditch is represented in major collections in Australia including the Art Gallery of NSW; Art Gallery of Western Australian; Art Gallery of South Australia; Australian National Gallery, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria; Horsham Art Gallery; Shepparton Art Gallery; Gold Coast City; Newcastle City Art Gallery; Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; Mildura Arts Centre; Geelong Arts Centre; Ballarat Fine Art Gallery; University of Queensland; University of Western Australia; Phillip Morris Collection; LaTrobe Valley Arts Centre; Art Bank; Wollongong Art Gallery; Parliament House Collection, Canberra; International Air Terminal, Mascot (Mural); and Western Mining Collection.