Michael Petry Explores Gender And Craftsmanship In New Pallant House Exhibition

A brand new installation by the multimedia artist Michael Petry (b.1960) in a Queen Anne townhouse, featuring glass sculptures created in direct response to the forms of the grand staircase and historic mirrors echoing the story of ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’. Utilising traditional glass-making techniques Petry’s installation creates a dialogue with the Gallery’s historic glass collections, exploring questions of gender, craftsmanship and decoration.

Michael Petry’s latest work entitled ‘A Twist in Time’ (2015) is a spiral of colourful blown glass which curves down through the space. Made up of 25 pieces measuring approximately two feet each, their form has been directly inspired by the twisted shape of the bannisters. Clear versions of ‘A Twist in Time’ entitled ‘Ghosts’ will also be installed throughout the house, designed to blend into the background to be discovered by visitors. The glass was fabricated for Petry by students and staff at the Plymouth College of Art.

Also on display will be ‘Bad Restorations’ (2014/15), a series of mirrored works created using a process of layering sheets of glass, sterling silver or 24 carat gold. Reflections are therefore broken up, darkened of distorted in some way, reflecting the decay of Dorian Gray portrayed in the eponymous painting of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’.

Throughout the house further interventions will occur amongst the Gallery’s collections. This includes ‘Lovers’, a number of smaller glass and metal sculptures placed in the Irish Glass collection in Room 3. These works explore the space between fine art and craft and have been made under Petry’s supervision by glass workers in the UK and in Murano (Venice).

Alongside these, a full sized bronze arrow ‘Libation to Eros’ will be on display. ‘Libation to Eros’ is one of several works that reflect Petry’s interest in creation myths and Greek mythology. Similar to a libation bowl exhibited in the Frontiers Reimagined exhibition as part  a huge 24 carat gold glazed porcelain bowl filled with red wine, which glows when in direct sunlight and acts like a mirror when it is not. All of Petry’s porcelain works are made to his design in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen where pottery has been made for almost 2000 years.

Michael Petry joins the line-up of contemporary artists commissioned to produce new work for the stairwell of the house at Pallant House Gallery, which has also included Alice Kettle (2014), Bouke de Vries (2013) and Susie MacMurray (2006). This programme is supported by Arts Council England.

Michael Petry (b.  Petry was the first Artist in Residence at Sir John Soane’s Museum (2010/11) exhibiting two bodies of work, published in Smoke & Mirrors (2011). His recent one man show The Touch of the Oracle at the Palm Springs Art Museum (2012) was accompanied by a ten year career review book distributed by Thames & Hudson. His new book Nature Morte: Contemporary Artists reinvigorate the Still-Life tradition, was published in four hard back editions, Thames & Hudson (UK/American), Hirmer (German) and Ludion (Dutch). A related exhibition curated by Petry will start a European museum tour in June.

Michael Petry: A Twist in Time Until Spring 2016

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