The Expressive Striations and Technical Innovations of Kate Petley
“Lined,” an upcoming exhibition of new work by Kate Petley at Turner Carroll Gallery features bold, rhythmic new work in the artist’s signature expressive style. Petley constructs dynamic compositions with sweeping brushstrokes and sharp incised lines that dart back and forth across the picture plane. Her paintings feature layered planes of color and form that allow her gestural mark-making to float in an imagined space. Diffuse areas of color recede into distant space as more defined foreground strokes zip across the picture plane. The oversize brushstrokes of a work like Freak Flag (2013), have a directness which melds the abstract expressionism of Franz Kline or Willem de Kooning with the fluid washes and atmospheric space of second generation AbEx artists Helen Frankenthaler and Jules Olitski.
Petley’s new works are technically pioneering as the artist expands her use of painting media to achieve the maximum luminosity possible. Working on aluminum, Petley works with a combination of materials including resin and industrial films, which give the paintings a brilliance and chromatic power that is difficult to achieve with traditional media. The artist’s deft handling of the various media creates a visceral new landscape that is constantly shifting. A warm palette of reds and magenta tones contrasts with neutral grays to enhance the depth of space in this new work. The striated marks of Petley’s abstractions defy a fixed scale and can reference something as large as the cosmic rings of Saturn or as intimate as the slippery tendrils of water in a mountain stream. Though clearly based in natural form, the artist’s emphatic architectural lines have a structural integrity and a consistency that speaks to the order of the cities and buildings within which we live and operate. Petley’s latest work defines a new realm of abstraction that is a powerful synthesis of human gesture and elemental forms.
“Lined” is on view at Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe, June 9th–29th, 2014.