Exhibition Dates: May 30 – July 2, 2008
Artist’s Reception: Friday, May 30, 5:00 – 8:00 P.M.
Carl Hammer Gallery is pleased to introduce the sculptural mastery of Jan Petry in her first solo show appearance. The artist, trained in graphic design, spent most of her professional life as an associate director in advertising, yet she comes to this point in her life with the discipline and creative vision of one who has practiced making art all her life. A born collector, Petry has developed an exceptional fondness for objects both natural and man made. From her collecting impulse she discovered a desire to also create, to make things. For the past decade and a half, she has labored with loving intensity over the creation of this gratifying body of work.
Specifically, Petry works with wood creating an end result that is simultaneously seductive and organic. Using the material instinctively and deriving pleasure in discovering both its sensuous tactility and its visual color variations, her exploration of the way different wood yields itself up to her selection and manipulation likens the process to the image evoking creative writing of, say, a William Carlos Williams. The homage Petry makes to the universal and elemental themes of Brancusi, Giacometti, and other modern masters of 20thcentury sculpture making is obvious but not imitative. Like them, she evidences her fascination for all things ethnographic. Her pieces touch also upon the themes of the minimalism evidenced clearly throughout the last half of the same century. The last part of Petry’s creative “process” brings us full circle, combining natural world materials to intriguingly unusual man made found objects. This marriage, of sorts, performs a consciously produced dialogue between the man made object and the natural world materials.
Finding that the creative process is its own reward, Jan Petry has carved out a very special niche in this summer’s offerings of gallery exhibitions here in Chicago. We feel especially enriched by the presence of her interpretative vision.