Drawing inspiration from historical works, which are intentionally kept anonymous, Joshua Petker’s paintings rely instead on their ability to evoke the familiar and uncanny, teasing and tantalizing. Rather than draw specific conclusions from these juxtapositions, his work unleashes an exhilarating proliferation of meanings and pictorial puzzles. The artist offers the history of art and visual culture reshuffled—Picabia, Bronzino, soviet era cartoons. Petker makes these his own and the outcome is a timeless dreamlike mix of perspective and emotionality.
With scenes that teeter on the brink of romance and libertinism, Petker invites us to join bands of revelry and onlookers as they promenade through expansive historical timelines. Recently his scenes of social merriment conjure clinking glasses, sweet serenades, and rowdy limericks. Petker ribs formal painting conventions and plunges viewers further into the artist’s dreamworld—a place colored by the finality of history and the haziness of memory.
Joshua Petker (b. 1979, Los Angeles, CA) completed his MFA at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 2015 and his BFA at Evergreen State College in 2002. He has exhibited his work in solo exhibitions at Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles, CA; Rachel Uffner, New York, NY; ASHES/ASHES, Los Angeles, CA; and Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles, CA; as well as group exhibitions at Althuis Holland, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Spurs Gallery, Beijing, China; Carl Kostyál Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden; La Loma Projects, Pasadena, CA; and ACME, Los Angeles, CA. Petker lives and works in Los Angeles, CA