Caught Between, 2019

Gary Petersen

Caught Between, 2019
Acrylic and ink on wood panel
12 x 12 in

For several years now, I have been working with an idiosyncratic hard edge geometric vocabulary, but unlike some hard edge paintings, these are not necessarily reductive. Rather they embrace an over-the-top exuberance, weaving a range of references from architecture, cartoons, and graphic designs. 

In my work, expression is located more in the composition and color than in the paint handling. 

My process starts with a painting of multiple irregular lines and grids. I then brush on a thin wash of transparent white, which partially obscures this under-painting. This creates a muted scaffolding, or substructure, on which to build my stacked forms and lines. As I paint, one decision determines the next, building up these wobbly forms.  Unlike most geometric painting, which is preliminarily sketched out and planned, I work intuitively, one decision determining the next. 

Using geometric shapes, lines, and vibrant color, my forms are precariously stacked and ready to be toppled over at any moment.  I feel these paintings address issues of our current predicaments in the world: uncertainty, imbalance and vulnerability, but with a bit of optimism and playfulness thrown in.

Gary Petersen (b. Staten Island, NY) received a B.S. degree from The Pennsylvania State University and an M.F.A. from The School of Visual Arts. He has exhibited widely in New York City and throughout the United States.  Awards have included The MacDowell Residency Fellowship, The Bogliasco Foundation Residency Fellowship, The American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Award, New Jersey State Council on the Arts Painting Fellowship, The Sharpe-Walentas Space Program, and the Edward F. Albee Fellowship. His work has been reviewed by John Yau in HyperAllergic,  ArtNews, Art in America, The New York Times and The Boston Globe. His work is in several private and public collections including The Dallas Museum of Art, The Zimmerli Art Museum Rutgers University, The Jewish Museum New York and the US State Department. Petersen currently has a studio in Brooklyn and resides in Hoboken, New Jersey.

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