The current exhibition at Low Gallery, “Trying, Failing, Waiting, Building,” by Philip Petrie, is at once easy to look at, with it’s intriguing shapes and forms, and fascinating in its complexity and meaning. When we view the work we can find what we are looking for, but also what we do not expect to find. There are dichotomies of shape that are geometric and fluid, flat and deep, yet familiar and foreign. The thin line between knowing what you see and what you suspect is easily crossed as you gaze longer. As you bring your own thoughts and emotions, those things that you see in your life, those that give you comfort can be viewed, juxtaposed in an expression of those objects.
If you make the investment of time viewing these intriguing abstracts, you can start to peer into the artist’s intentions and build your own impression of the pieces. At first glance you’ll see the color patterns and the tonal values that create a balance of the whole, then start to absorb the intention and bring life to the piece. I imagine the title of the exhibit to refer to nature and man who go through the the four steps in their own systems to create something new and wonderful or potentially dark and foreboding, and I see that all in these works.
There is also, for me, something familiar in the work. I had a momentary feeling of life in the mid-twentieth century, and what expressions were being explored during that time. Art with bold lines, voluminous depth and gently fading patches of color. Lots of contrasting spaces and interesting shapes holding the whole together with balance and emotion.
The exhibit will be on display until October 17, 2016. I urge you to go see Mr. Petrie’s work at Low Gallery and see where the experience takes you.
September 27, 2016