You See What I Mean

Michael Petry

Archive Exhibitions (9 November to 1 December 1996)
You See What I Mean by Michael Petry was the third event commissioned by BN1 for public sites in central Brighton.

Other events included Fastbuild by Leon Palmer and Anna Heinrich and a design and architectural collaboration with artist Markus Blee at the Zap Club.
This work was comprised of clothes, blue powder pigment, video and soundtrack. It was conceived and lit so as to alter as the natural daylight slowly faded. As the days grew shorter, the lengths of day and night light altered. The clothes were powdered with a thin layer of ultramarine blue pigment which was accentuated by the blue light. The video could be seen through a small porthole on the wall and depicted Brighton at high summer, the pebble beach, and sunlit water. No human presence could be seen as wave upon wave washed up. The soundtrack washed over the viewer as the alternating tones of a church bell played on with additional sounds of the city emanating from the pulpit.

Petry created computer simulations of what the work would look like prior to its realization. The working drawings give and an indication of what the piece would look like in situ, yet were intended as video works in themselves.

The video could only be seen through a wall on the North side of the room. At night the lapping of the waves caused the image to appear to flicker as if it were candle-light.

This event was organised by BN1 Visual Arts Project with funding and support from South East Arts and Brighton Borough Council. BN1 focussed on contemporary and innovative installation and site-specific art, creating new opportunities for radical new departures.

About The Artist

Michael Petry (b. Texas, 1960) 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.

Petry is an artist, author and Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) London, and writes for Huffington Post. He co-founded the Museum of Installation, was Guest Curator at the Kunstakademiet, Oslo, Research Fellow at the University of Wolverhampton, Guest Curator for Futurecity and was Curator of the Royal Academy Schools Gallery.

Petry is a Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors (FRBS) and a Brother of the Art Workers Guild. Petry co-authored Installation Art (1994), and Installation in the New Millennium (2003), and authored Abstract Eroticism (1996) and A Thing of Beauty is...(1997). The Trouble with Michael, a monograph of his practice, was published by Art Media Press in 2001. Petry’s book Hidden Histories: 20th century male same sex lovers in the visual arts (2004) was the first comprehensive survey of its kind, and accompanied the exhibition Hidden Histories he curated for The New Art Gallery Walsall.

His two-volume book Golden Rain (2008) accompanied his installation for the On the Edge exhibition for Stavanger 2008, European Capital of Culture. Petry was the first Artist in Residence at Sir John Soane’s Museum (2010/11) exhibiting two bodies of work, published in Smoke & Mirrors (2011). His one man show The Touch of the Oracle at the Palm Springs Art Museum (2012) was accompanied by a ten year career review book. Petry’s work was included in the 2015 Frontiers Reimagined at the Venice Biennale, and his one-man show AT the Core of the Algorithm accompanied his Campbell Lectures at Rice University. Recent solo shows include: A Twist in Time, at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (2016) and In the Realm of the Gods, at the Holburne Museum, Bath 2017/8.

You see what i mean


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