By Angela Romeo
When British based artist Michael Petry comes to town the valley takes notice. Innovative and always pushing the envelope Michael was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1960 and has lived in London since 1981. He studied at Rice University, Houston (BA), London Guildhall University (MA), and has a Doctor in Arts from Middlesex University. He is an artist, author and curator.
Michael’s latest show will open at Melissa Morgan Fine Art Gallery on January 6 and will run through February 6, 2017. Michael’s works are included in collections throughout the world including the Palm Springs Art Museum; Museum of Arts and Design, New York City; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Toledo Museum of Art, the British Museum, London; The National Collection, UK, the Kunst und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublick Deutschland, Bonn, the Bellerive Museum, Zurich, The New Art Gallery Walsall, UK, Rogaland Kunstmuseum, Stavanger, Norway, The Gallery of Art, Legnica, Poland and the Leopold Hoesch Museum, Düren, Germany.
Lest We Forget the Gods continues his performance art work Libation to Eros that was shown at the Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Desert Campus in 2015. In the original performance Michael shot red arrows into a wall of cork while telling the story of Eros, the Greek God of desire and love. He shot one arrow for each year of his life. Simultaneously he intoned a classical tale, mixed with his own story. The juxtaposition of the arrows and sound created a powerful performance that reinforced the arrow metaphor – that the arrow, like loves can bring with it pain and pleasure and that the arrow always brings about change. “It is this fear of the chaos of love that I hope to tap into,” noted Michael.
Lest We Forget the Gods will include a series of large-scale Libation paintings that were made during a residency at the Coachella Valley Art Center. These works form a series called The Battle of the Gods and the Titans, and each one was made by Michael firing real arrows into the canvas.
He will also present sculptural works in bronze and porcelain. A full life sized solid bronze arrow called Libation to Eros will accompany two libation bowls made for Michael in Jingdezhen, the 2000-year-old porcelain center of 2000 years. Libation to Apollo is a one meter (in diameter) gold bowl that will be filled with white wine and Libation to Selene (the moon goddess) will be filled with red wine. The exhibition will also be accompanied by porcelain wall work made up of 9 silver porcelain stars. It will also include Constellation; a series is based on the astrological signs based on the stars.
What makes Michael’s work unique is his ability to work well with other artists and craftsman. Where some artist will take create for the complete creation Michael has always acknowledged that some work does take a village. Michael’s book The Art of Not Making: The New Artist/Artisan Relationship looks at artists who have work produced for them by artisans.