Anat Ebgi is pleased to announce Tambourine, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Joshua Petker on view at 4859 Fountain Avenue, January 28 – March 11, 2023. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. An opening reception will take place Saturday, January 28 from 5 – 8pm.
If his previous exhibition The Flirt was a comment on restraint (with color and scale in particular), Tambourine channels an opposing impulse. Debuting the artist’s largest compositions to date this exhibition unleashes Dionysian debauchery. Tambourines have been used as instruments dating to the ancient world, in religious music, and rock n’ roll, an allusion which furthers Petker’s collapsing of histories.
With these tableaus, Petker invites viewers to join the band of revelers as they promenade through hazy timelines. In these scenes of social merriment one can overhear clinking glasses, sweet serenades, and rowdy limericks. Fair maidens, musicians, chumps, drunks, and libertines are newly accompanied by a number of animals, including horses and geese.
Petker’s initial interest in art history and classical portraiture was born during a trip to Florence Italy in his 20s. At the time he was a writer and aspiring musician—looking for something he found the renaissance masters. His current works meld a continued reverence for colossal frescos and art historical painters while embracing a carefree attitude toward “covering things up.”
With a punk disregard tempered by conceptual control, Petker’s ribs formal painting conventions. In one composition he casually covers up a beautifully painted rug with hurried cartoon flowers, while in another picture he smooshes the figures all onto the same half of the canvas. His colors too break from previous self-imposed conventions primarily exploring the realm of monochrome; here the palette is playful and unrestrained, teetering on psychedelic.
Transparency continues to be both a subject and formal strategy. His flat ghostly figures, phantoms unrestrained by human anatomy, these characters with distorted features, fantastical and mask-like— haunt their art historical companions—round and atmospheric counterpoints—as they fade and recede. Petker also sands down the surfaces bringing a softness to the scenes. Together with these latest works plunge viewers further into Petker’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.