Gary Petersen “Just Hold On”

McKenzie Fine Art

poster for Gary Petersen “Just Hold On”

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McKenzie Fine Art presents the fall season with an exhibition of new abstract paintings and drawings by Gary Petersen.

In his second solo exhibition with the gallery, Petersen continues to hone his take on geometric abstraction. While hard-edged, his paintings are not reductive; rather, they are imbued with an over-the-top exuberance. He starts a painting with an arrangement of irregular lines, grids and nesting shapes, followed by a thin wash of transparent white. The wash partially obscures the underpainting, creating a muted substructure onto which he builds vivid polychromatic compositions of geometric shapes and emphatic linear elements. Working in acrylic, and with sections of oil paint in some newer work, Petersen uses tape to mask his geometries as they accumulate. Rather than planning his compositions, he proceeds intuitively, with one decision determining the next. The process sets into motion the vibrantly colored curves, lines and irregular geometries which appear to then be caught in a moment of energized stasis.

Petersen weaves a range of references into his work including cartoons, advertisements, graphic design and architecture, as well as the rich history of geometric art, citing the paintings of Al Held and Nicholas Krushenick as particularly strong influences. About his work, the artist notes, “I feel these paintings address issues of our current predicaments in the world: uncertainty, imbalance and insecurity, but with a bit of humor thrown in. I see these shapes shifting and bumping, stacking and collapsing, like our lives: we bounce around, make mistakes and contradict ourselves. Nothing certain, nothing fixed.”

Gary Petersen (b.1956, Staten Island, NY) received his 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 and Europe. Awards received include The MacDowell Colony Fellowship, The American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Award, the 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 in many publications including Hyperallergic, Artnews, Art in America and The New York Times. His work is in numerous private, corporate, and public collections including The Dallas Museum of Art, Roanoke College and the US Department of State. Petersen currently has a studio in Brooklyn and resides in Hoboken, New Jersey.



from September 04, 2019 to October 20, 2019

Opening Reception on 2019-09-04 from 18:00 to 20:00


Gary Petersen

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