Olivia Petrides: Flux opens at OS Projects on Saturday, February 8 and continues through April 11. A reception for the artist will take place from 2 – 5 pm on the same day as the opening.
Olivia Petrides creates baroque abstractions on paper based on her travels to areas of the world that contain emblematic, awe-inspiring natural features and phenomena–volcanoes, icebergs, geological rifts and auroras. Influenced by 19th century painters, such as Frederic Church and Albert Bierstadt, Petrides is especially interested in how evocations of the sublime resonate today when so many of nature’s mechanisms are being disrupted.
Petrides translates the flux of natural phenomena into a language of discrete marks and fluid gestures. Her images are constructed from layers of gouache and pours of ink that soak the paper while leaving oases of white. She utilizes a process of subtraction by sandpapering the coated surface, overlaying ink washes, then reconstructing the image repeatedly. Dramatic tonal contrasts and the topography of fluid-derived shapes dictate the composition, while layer upon layer of marks create contrasting movements and disparate perspectives in the same space. Like the aurora, the resulting image is a provisional conclusion to an evolving process.
Through an intense and sustained physical engagement with her materials and environment, Petrides searches for new ways to profile and embody ambivalent feelings about the world and our place within it.
About the Artist
Olivia Petrides has exhibited her art work in galleries and museums in Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Scotland, Seattle, Washington D.C. and Chicago. Her works are in the public collections of the Smithsonian, the U.S. Park Service, the Field Museum, Illinois State Museum and Hafnarborg Institute of Art (Iceland), among others.
Petrides has been awarded numerous grants and artist residencies. They include a Fulbright Grant to Iceland, American Scandinavian Foundation Grants, an Illinois Arts Council Governor’s Exchange Award, a Margaret Klimek Phillips Award and a Wilder Travel Grant for Excellence in Teaching. She has been in residence at the Reykjavik Kjarval Museum, the Faroe Islands Museum of Natural History, the Vermont Studio Center, Yellowstone National Park and the Ragdale Foundation.
Petrides has curated exchange exhibitions between artists in Iceland and the Faroe Islands and artists who reside in Chicago. She is also the illustrator of six field guides, including two in the classic Peterson Field Guide Series, as well as four volumes issued by Explorer Press and Stackpole Press. This acute level of observation forms the basis for her studio practice.
About OS Projects
OS Projects is a contemporary art gallery in downtown Racine featuring visual artists in solo and small group exhibits. The gallery’s primary focus is on artists living and working in the Chicago-Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee urban corridor. While the range of media the gallery presents is broad—encompassing painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography, video/film and installation—the exhibited artists are unified in their engagement with topical issues, experimentation with materials and processes, and adherence to craft.
The building that houses OS Projects was designed by the award-winning Milwaukee firm, Johnsen Schmaling Architects.
OS Projects is located at 601 Sixth Street, Racine, Wisconsin. Gallery hours are Thursday – Saturday, 12 – 5 pm, and by appointment. The gallery is also open during downtown Racine First Fridays and other special events. For more information, please visit the gallery website: osprojects.art.
The image shows a detail of Polar Nights I, Panel 2 (2015-2016) by Olivia Petrides. Ink and gouache on paper, each panel 75″ x 52″.