Radial : Kate Petley, Stephen Westfall, and Don Voisine
Jul 20 – Sep 16, 2017
Kate Petley’s conceptual process begins with collage and ends with the artist’s painterly hand while employing the camera as the essential vehicle for her abstraction. Petley’s experience of location, where the urban environment edges up against the natural world, serves as the point of departure for her work. From this inspiration, she creates a digitally-collaged unique print which is then further transformed with overlapping and often translucent layers of bold pigments. Having become accustomed to using theatrical film transparencies sealed in resin which is then laid visible every mark made by the artist, Petley’s work continues to refine the unconventional materiality of transparent layers to invoke space. The artist reflects, “My current work is marked by luminous color with contrasting rough edges. This shift demonstrates my process-driven sense of materiality and allows for Illusion, light, color and form to combine in reference to physical and psychological space. It is conceptually important to me that these images are initiated entirely in-camera without computer intervention.” Petley’s collage process references natural forms and architectural constructs to form a fragmented perceptual landscape joined and made tangible through steps that opens up the possibility of a visually-experiential sense of conceived place. The artist states, “The push-pull between the illusion of visual depth and the physically flat reality of the paintings compels me. A screen-like appearance prevails. There is an awkward tension, a sense of familiarity, and an odd balance in the compositions. I’m looking for a particular rhythm, a clumsy formality that seems almost tender. Moving towards sensation, subject matter is pushed out and an experiential sense of space fills the gap left behind. I am determined to pull a non-existing image out of thin air using a vocabulary that is not about language and by complicating the relationship of foreground to background, alluding to a distinct presence, my own experiences are inserted.”
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 How to Flatten a Mountain Residency, Wexford County, Ireland, 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, Platte Forum, 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.
With an evident hand in contrast to the straight edges of color, Stephen Westfall pursues compositions that move back and forth between whole and fragment while utilizing bold geometric form and unexpected color. Following a solo exhibition at Robischon Gallery that featured a vivid fifty-foot, site-specific wall painting entitled Canterbury, Westfall returns to present additional intuition-driven paintings with hard-edged, but hand-painted configurations on canvas. The artist states, “A predominant number of my paintings since 2001 have ten or eleven colors in evolving geometric arrangements that invoke Post War “Hard Edge” painting, Navajo and Plains Indian patterns, the designs of Charles and Ray Eames, Pennsylvania Dutch Hex signs, harlequin patterns, and so on. I use geometric structures to distribute my colors in an imitation of randomness. I say “imitation” because truly random distribution would present a lot more clumping of value and chromatic temperature than I want. I’m searching for a sense of aeration and glow, like sunlight on a laundry line or a sun baked billboard on the eastern Arizona stretch of I-40. I’m also hoping that the color distribution will contest in some way the symmetry of my pictorial architectures. Along with dyslexia I have synesthesia and mixed dominance. I can taste and gather scents from certain colors, and numbers and consonants have colors (which proceed to have and scent and so on). I also do some things left handed and other things right handed since I desire symmetry but can’t live with it. So the shifting spread of my colors “undoes” my symmetries with an insider’s patience. I do not use tape on my canvases (impossible not to use tape on the wall paintings) so they have an increased “hand-made” feel to them in comparison with most Hard Edged painting. I think there’s a subtle animation as the paint meets the paint along the borders of every shape, a little vibration that also slows down the pattern reading – all the better for viewers to find the spaces of their own imagination.”
Stephen Westfall has both a BA and MFA from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His work is included in museum and corporate collections including: Albertina Museum, Vienna, Austria Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD Bon Marche, Paris, France Kemper Museum, Kansas City, MO, The Library of Congress, Washington, DC, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark Mason Gross Performing Arts Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, Microsoft, Seattle, WA, Munson Williams Proctor Institute, Utica, NY, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA , Museum of Modern Art, NY, The New York Public Library, NY, Rubin Museum, New York, NY , UBS Art Collection University Art Museum, University of California at Santa Barbara, CA and Whitney Museum, New York, NY, among others. Widely exhibited both in the US and abroad, Westfall has received numerous honors and awards such as the Rome Prize Fellowship, Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, Nancy Graves Foundation Grant, Class of 1932 Fellow of the Council of Humanities, Princeton University, Academy Award in Painting, American Academy of Arts & Letters, three National Endowment for the Arts awards and two from the New York State Council on the Arts.
Don Voisine’s signature hard-edged geometric abstractions are equal parts mathematical precision and fine directional brushwork evident of the artist’s hand. From his earliest inspiration for his ongoing series, Voisine recalled an intimate response to floor plans of the physical spaces of dwellings. This promoted the investigation of what Voisine calls, “the language of space.” No longer referencing earlier specific sites, Voisine’s geometries maintain their seduction; a siren song that beckons intimate inspection of the painted surfaces; pondering how the illusion of one of his central, dark obsidian elements morphs out of perceptual view and back again though the considered application of glossy or matte paint. The puzzling shift of illusion can be read in a myriad of ways, as motion or as an apt metaphor in an age of falseness and fakery, or more directly as a formally elegant presentation where possibility and interpretation abound. The artist states, “The paintings are made in a very straight forward manner, no tricks, no flourishes and no fancy mediums. Both display some evidence of the hand within the structure of the grid. The paintings are made by simply overlaying or abutting planes or bands, generally combining no more than four or five elements. Although tape is used to mask off areas, my paintings are obviously hand painted and also gain some visual buzz from its imperfections.”
Hyperallergic’s John Yu writes of Voisine’s work: “Every color in a Voisine painting has its own material identity. Even the narrow bands edging or running through the panel’s border colors convey a distinctive feel to their physicality. The shifts between the sectioned areas can be tonal or sharp, but the vocabulary is solidly geometric: trapezoids, parallelograms, triangles, rectangles, and squares. The angled planes add a torque to the compositions. It is as if everything is held in a state of suspension, with the actions of falling, slipping, and sliding implied - his geometry is one that is under constant pressure, where gravity becomes a felt presence on the diagonal alignment of the planes. The pressure runs along the seams where adjoining sections meet; it varies in strength, but is never absent among the composition’s tightly wedged planes, both small and large – tensions between the spatial and the planar, color contrasts and tonal shifts, palpable forms and hinted-at spaces, often all in the same painting” ultimately creating abstractly-formal objects of contemplation and wonder.
Don Voisine attended the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, Maine and the Rochester Institute of Technology. His work is in numerous permanent collections including: Art in Embassies Program, United States Department of State, Washington, DC, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, National Academy Museum, New York, NY, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, Missoula Art Museum, Missoula, MT, New York Public Library, NY, Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Special Collection of the Library, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, Neuberger Berman, New York, NY, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Mem Permanent Collection, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX and Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center, University of Richmond Museum, Richmond, VA. He was the recipient of the 2011 Purchase Prize, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME, Hassam, Speicher, Betts and Symons Purchase Fund Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY, 2008 Henry Ward Ranger Fund Purchase Award, National Academy Museum, New York and a 2006 Artist’s Fellowship, New York Foundation for the Arts, among others.