Some Grit in Your Hourglass: Michael Petry's 'Laughing At Time'

Brewerton, Andrew (2001) Some Grit in Your Hourglass: Michael Petry's 'Laughing At Time'. In: The Trouble with Michael. Artmedia Press, London, pp. 58-89. ISBN 1902889037

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Abstract / Summary

Chapter in book-length monograph on American installation artist Michael Petry, commissioned by the artist. Critical examination of a series of installations in Norway, USA and UK invoking the physical properties of blown, cast, cased and coloured glass as primary material. Works considered include (1) two linked installations jointly entitled ‘Laughing At Time’ (’The Treasure of Memory’; ‘The Forgotten Kisses’), plus ‘Pearl MAP Unit’ – all three made for the gallery and barn complex of the arts centre at Hå, near Stavanger on the North Sea coast of southern Norway; (2) ‘Contagion’, a Brighton Festival 2000 commission for the Gardner Arts Centre; and (3) ‘The Fluid Man’, made for the Devin Borden Hiram Butler Gallery, Houston, Texas.

‘The Treasure of Memory’ is touring (2007-9), accompanied by this book, to: Toledo Museum, Ohio; Schmuckmuseum, Pforzheim; Museum of Arts and Design at Two Columbus Circle, New York; Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, NY State; Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, Alabama and venues in Italy and Holland.

The essay seeks to extend the range of critical language and cultural reference for glass as a contemporary art medium, and also to locate Petry’s installation work within a wider critical context. It explores the artist’s representation of the male body as neo-Albertian ‘measure’, and in the context of epidemic HIV. The essay also offers an interpretation of the Narcissus myth in relation to the ‘unrequited’ act of image-making, and in terms of the fluid, reflective/reflexive properties of the glass medium. It explores the artist’s engagement with the physical condition of glass and pearls, and with blood, semen, sweat and urine, as material traces in a physical continuum of organic and mineral existence, linked conceptually both to narcissism and to alchemy as processes of cognition.

Item Type: Book Section
ISBN: 1902889037
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Depositing User: Ex Falmouth Staff
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2014 10:49
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 16:03


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