detail of painting

Image credit: Kate Petley, American (b.1954), Equal Measure (detail), 2021, archival print and acrylic on canvas, 72 x 76 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Robischon Gallery. © Kate Petley  

painting

Image credit: Kate Petley, American (b.1954), Agreement, 2021, edition 1/3, archival print on Canson Baryta Prestige paper, 18 x 26 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Kate Petley

painting

Image credit: Kate Petley, American (b.1954), Anchor, 2020, archival print and acrylic on canvas, 72 x 76”. Courtesy of the artist and Robischon Gallery.  © Kate Petley  

Kate Petley: Staring into the Fire

August 17—December 18, 2021

Kate Petley: Staring into the Fire brings together a new body of work composed of abstract photographs and works on canvas. Petley’s will to transform and mesmerize guides her image-making process. Sculptures assembled from castaway materials such as cardboard and colored gels are placed into intensely lit arrangements and photographed. Corrugated and pitted surfaces undergo a startling shift when presented as photographs or printed on canvases. Her luminous abstract paintings bathe viewers in fields of overlapping translucent and opaque forms. Her shapes float in front of or penetrate ambient color fields of gradated reds, oranges, greens, indigos and violets.

Using mechanisms of contemporary technology, Petley counters the quick pace of viewing images on devices. She leverages physiological responses to color and light, inviting absorption in brightly hued geometries and cast shadows. Her application of hand-brushed overlays of acrylic paint attempts to further slow the looking process. The contrast of the flat printed surfaces with the subtle textures of opaque paint generates dissonance between digital and material realms. 

This exhibition was curated by Sandra Q. Firmin.