Kate Petley


Kate Petley
Nov 21, 2019 – Jan 18, 2020

Robischon Gallery is pleased to present three, concurrent solo exhibitions by New York artists Richard Serra, Don Voisine and Stephen Westfall with a two-person exhibition by Colorado artists Kate Petley and Derrick Velasquez. The five artists on view challenge and investigate varying aspects of abstraction, including Minimalism and Geometric Abstraction, in a variety of media.  From print work to painting as well as sculpture, the artists’ explorations into visual weight, color and surface are expansive in both composition and form.  The dynamic yet nuanced large-scale textural prints of preeminent sculptor Richard Serra, leading into the bold and color-saturated paintings of highly regarded artists Don Voisine and Stephen Westfall, alongside the process and material-based work of recognized artists Kate Petley and Derrick Velasquez, influence and add to the vocabulary of abstraction with their distinctive pursuits.  Each of the exhibited artists invite the viewer to engage in a dialogue between light and dark, gravity and weightlessness and to experience a sense of the architectural. 

Kate Petley

“Transformation lies at the heart of my process, both for the materials and my intent for the finished work.  I’m a process-driven materialist with a history that crosses disciplines, deliberately emphasizing positivity as an authentic position to contrast these unsettling times.”

In her fifth Robischon Gallery exhibition including both solo and group offerings, Colorado artist Kate Petley continues to create lively work which reflects her interest in an open sense of geometry, materiality, and the cultivation of her unique conceptual process. The work often begins with a kind of sculptural collage, then transitions to digital manipulation and printing, culminating with the artist’s painterly hand. Employing the camera, which the artist considers her essential vehicle for abstraction, Petley further explains that, “by presenting new interpretations of a luminous surface, references that include the ever-present backlit computer screen are broadly inserted. The long arc through history is filled with methods and reasons to approach a radiant surface. A sense of contamination lingers from the blurring of photography and painting, increasingly fused together in a shifting relationship made possible by technology. Perception is shifted back and forth as the viewer resolves these physical differences. For me, it is conceptually important that these images are created in-camera, not in the computer.”

With the conceptual drive foremost and clear in her process, Petley creates her digitally collaged, unique prints on canvas, which are then further transformed with a painterly approach by overlapping translucent layers of white or bold pigments. In other previous series Petley was accustomed to using theatrical film transparencies sealed in resin, which laid visible every mark she made. Petley’s work continues to evolve and in varied ways refine the unconventional materiality of transparent layers to invoke space. The artist reflects, “My current work is marked by luminous color with contrasting rough edges.  This shift demonstrates my process-driven sense of materiality and allows for Illusion, light, color and form to combine in reference to physical and psychological space. It is conceptually important to me that these images are initiated entirely in-camera without computer intervention.”

Petley goes on to state that, “The push-pull between the illusion of visual depth and the physically flat reality of the paintings compels me.  A screen-like appearance prevails. There is an awkward tension, a sense of familiarity, and an odd balance in the compositions. I’m looking for a particular rhythm, a clumsy formality that seems almost tender. Moving towards sensation, subject matter is pushed out and an experiential sense of space fills the gap left behind. I am determined to pull a non-existing image out of thin air using a vocabulary that is not about language and by complicating the relationship of foreground to background, alluding to a distinct presence, my own experiences are inserted.” Fearless in her exploration of the complexity and mystery she desires from each new work, Kate Petley continues her thoughtful investigation into a visual language of unexpected, charged geometries of brilliant hues.


Colorado artist Kate Petley has a B.F.A. cum laude from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her multimedia work resides at the intersection of photography, painting, and sculpture. Petley has been the recipient of numerous awards and residencies including: a Ucross Foundation Fellowship, Sheridan WY; the Peripheral Vision Publication Fellowship, Dallas, TX; PhotoIreland Residency in Dublin, Ireland; Invitational Artist Residency, Franz Mayer of Munich Glass, Munich, Germany; Artist Residency and Teaching Intensive, PlatteForum, Denver CO; and the New Forms Regional Grant Initiative (NFRIG), National Endowment for the Arts and The Rockefeller Foundation, among others. In 2016, Petley was included in Metropolitan State University’s Center for Visual Art influential exhibition entitled “Colorado Women in Abstraction” which coincided with Denver Art Museum’s groundbreaking “Women of Abstract Expressionism” exhibition. Her work has been widely exhibited and is represented in the collections of: The Nicolaysen Museum, Casper WY; The Federal Reserve Bank, Kansas City MO; Polsinelli LLC in Dallas TX, Chicago IL, and Denver CO; Houston Airport System, Houston, TX; Suntrust Bank, Atlanta GA; Intercontinental Exchange, Atlanta GA; Osage Art Consultancy, Hong Kong; Fidelity Investments, Denver CO and Boston, MA; UCLA Hospital Santa Monica CA; Denver Children’s Hospital, Denver CO; The City of Houston, TX; The Town of Vail, CO; The Ritz Carlton, Hyatt, Marriott, and Caesar’s Palace Hotel Corporations; Park South Hotel, New York NY; Propriety Capital, Denver CO; Morgan Stanley, San Francisco CA, among others. In 2020, Petley’s work will be featured in a solo exhibition entitled ‘Staring into the Fire’ at the University of Colorado Art Museum where a multiple-artist exhibition curated by the Petley will also be on view.