Colorado artist Kate Petley’s process-driven approach continues to evolve and expand in “Repositioned,” her third solo exhibition at Robischon Gallery with works of acrylic and pigmented ink on canvas. In earlier series, the artist engaged with sheets of theatrical film transparencies sealed in resin which laid visible every mark made by the artist; an unusual materiality of transparent layers that invoked space. Petley’s current in-camera collage constructs make tangible the possibility of a visually-experiential sense of place located in abstraction. Petley states, “The push-pull between the illusion of visual depth and the physically flat reality of the paintings compels me. I am determined to pull a non-existing image out of thin air using a vocabulary that is not about language. I am a process-driven materialist with a history that crosses disciplines while deliberately emphasizing positivity as an authentic position to contrast these unsettling times. Photography has played a major role in the development of my work over the past thirty years. Without it, my process possesses no magic.” As each canvas speaks on its own, it is further supported once Petley’s unorthodox and inventive process is considered. Intrigue arises from investigating how the photography and painting join to create her surprising and desired effect. The artist welcomes the scrutiny of the works’ surfaces - to discern, for example, if the bold black triangle of Somewhere Out There is part of the photography or the painting process, and similarly if the glowing red background element reveals its origin as well.
The artist continues, “Conceptually, this series originates with a photographed collage that is faithfully printed onto canvas. Color and image are created entirely without computer alteration other than to re-scale my image. Additionally, unlike traditional collage, I don’t appropriate the materials from a pre-existing source. Instead, I manipulate rough materials like cardboard and tape that contain no identifiable narratives. I return to the canvas surface with very selective painting, anchoring shapes to the photographic image. Often the image remains almost intact, resisting anything but the most-subtle additions. Luminous color appears from irrational lighting as forms lean, float, collide, and stand firmly – referring to structures, landscape, or to the physical sensations of the body. Perceptions shift and awareness alters as the viewer resolves what exactly is happening on the surface isn’t immediately discernible.” Kate Petley’s engagement with photography and painting takes form in what for her is an ordering of the real and the imagined made visible and a way to chase the sublime. The artist states, “If I catch it, the image will present more questions than answers.”
Kate Petley has a BFA cum laude from University of Utah. Recently included in Metropolitan State University’s Center for Visual Art important exhibition entitled “Colorado Women in Abstraction” which coincided with Denver Art Museum’s groundbreaking “Women of Abstract Expressionism,” she has also shown at Nicolaysen Museum of Art Caspser, WY, The Harwood Museum, Taos, NM with additional work shown at University of Denver, Curfman Gallery, Colorado State University Gallery and others. Petley has been the recipient of numerous awards including: a Ucross Foundation Fellowship, Sheridan WY, Peripheral Vision Publication Fellowship, Dallas, TX, Monoprint Series, Manneken Press, Bloomington IL, Invitational Artist Residency, Franz Mayer of Munich Glass, Munich, Germany, Monoprint Series, Manneken Press, Bloomington IL, Artist Residency and Teaching Intensive, PlatteForum, Denver CO, The Big Show, Second Place Award, Lawndale Art Center, Houston TX, Special Opportunity Grant, Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts, Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County. Texas Visual Arts Alliance Ninth Annual Exhibition, First Place Award, New Forms Regional Grant Initiative (NFRIG), National Endowment for the Arts and The Rockefeller Foundation. Her work is included in the collections of: The Nicolaysen Museum, Casper WY, The Federal Reserve Bank, Kansas City MO, Polsinelli LLC, Dallas TX, Chicago IL, and Denver CO, Houston Airport System, TX, Suntrust Bank, Atlanta GA, Intercontinental Exchange, Atlanta GA, Osage Art Consultancy, Hong Kong, Fidelity Investments, Denver CO and Boston MA, UCLA Hospital Santa Monica CA, Denver Children’s Hospital, Denver CO, The City of Houston, The Town of Vail, Vail CO, The Ritz Carlton, Hyatt, Marriott, and Caesar’s Palace Hotel Corporations, Park South Hotel, New York NY, Propriety Capital, Denver CO, Morgan Stanley, San Francisco CA and Vail Industries, Chicago IL.