Curated by Georgina Valverde
Floating Drawings is a delectable exhibition of miniature sculptures by Alexis Petroff. There is no excess in this otherwise filled to the brim show. All the elements in the tiny constructions are a culmination of a series of finely calibrated graphic transformations that are part of the artist's process for generating larger work.
An obsessive archivist with a keen eye for detail, Alexis Petroff has been collecting fragments appropriated from newsprint, coloring books, and junk mail since the pre-Internet era. Nowadays he uses Google Earth to find inspiration in the calligraphy of power lines, graffiti, clotheslines, and other features of far away urban environments. These elements serve as source material for drawings and collages, which in turn are the basis for the floating drawings.
The linear elements in the drawings are articulated as volumetric paper forms, painted with gouache and attached to wire armatures. They float in front of and behind cloth grounds appliquéd with opaque or semi-transparent silk shapes through which other layers and elements can be seen. Clean, elegant, and tactile, Alexis Petroff’s constructions create a theatrical interchange between painting and sculpture, matter and space.
Alexis Petroff was born in Bordeaux, France in 1955 and immigrated to New York City with his parents in the late 1960s. He was influenced by Pop Art and American artist and printmaker Jack McCaslin. He received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1987. His work has been shown at the Evanston Art Center, Name Gallery, Klein Art Works, and Mess Hall, among other Chicago venues. He is a master of smallness and his crepes are unrivaled.
Floating Drawings, 2013
Wire, cloth, silk, paper, and gouache