Staring into the Fire 2021 University of Colorado Art Museum (CUAM)
Collapsing the boundaries between sculpture, photography, and painting, Kate Petley reframes the history and meaning of the luminous surface to include the impact of the ever-present backlit computer screen. Emphasizing the transformation of common materials like cardboard, her radiant surfaces contain experiential planes of color, light, and form. Sculptures made of castaway materials are placed within intensely lit environments and photographed, with texture and pattern amplified to mythic proportions as the image is transferred to canvas. Forms float, lean, and impose themselves into atmospheric backgrounds, projecting like dramatic characters. A distinct presence is implied. A sense of contamination lingers from the blurring of photography and painting, fused together in a shifting relationship made possible by technology and carefully layered applications of paint. There is such a deep integration of processes that they become lost in one another. Perception is jerked back and forth as the viewer resolves these physical differences. It is conceptually important that these images are created in-camera, not in the computer.Petley has solo exhibitions in 2020 at VonLintel Gallery Los Angeles and Robischon Gallery in Denver. She will present a solo exhibition in 2021 at the University of Colorado Art Museum (CUAM), curated by Director Sandra Firmin. Additionally, Petley is the guest curator for a nine-artist exhibition for the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, also opening in 2021. Her work has been exhibited at MCA Denver, the Museum of South Texas, the Nicolaysen Museum, Fotofest Houston, the Martin Museum at Baylor University, Museum of the Southwest, the Arlington Museum of Art, and other institutions. Petley has been featured in thirty solo exhibitions and has completed numerous public commissions and installations. She participated in PhotoIreland 2017 and is a Ucross Foundation Fellowship recipient. Awarded an NEA Rockefeller Foundation Grant, other residencies include the Mayer of Munich Glass studio in Germany and Platteforum Denver. Collections include the Museum of Texas Tech University, the City of Houston, Fidelity Investments Boston and Denver, Stanford University, Morgan Stanley San Francisco, the Federal Reserve Bank Kansas City, and the Polsinelli Collection. Born in New York, Kate lives and works near Boulder, Colorado.