As a child, Kevin Petrie loved to draw and paint and when a teenager he came across a book on Matisse in the school library which awakened a passion for modern painting. This inspired Kevin to take coach trips from Nottinghamshire, where he grew up, to see paintings ‘in the flesh’ at the Tate Gallery in London. He went on to study Illustration at the University of Westminster and Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art. After his masters, Kevin undertook a PhD at the University of the West of England where he helped to develop a method of printing on ceramics.
An academic career followed at University of Sunderland where he is Professor and Head of the School of Art & Design. Kevin has lectured around the world and is known for his books on glass and ceramics as well as artworks, including a piece in the National Museum of Scotland collection. In the last year, Kevin completed a commission for a surfboard design for The Beam building in Sunderland, had a solo exhibition, Journeys, at National Glass Centre, and is currently showing at Sunderland Museum in the Hot New It exhibition curated by the Spaghetti Factory.
About the art
Many of my earlier works were produced ‘en plein air’ directly in the landscape. Recently, a freer and more ‘speculative’ approach has emerged which involves developing paintings in the studio. While traveling, I often make quick drawings of things I see while walking, in the car or on trains. Back in the studio, these ideas are developed into paintings which, although rooted in something seen, often take on new meanings and a ‘life of their own’.
For example, although all of the starting points of the recent pieces are landscape, some of the finished paintings may be read as still lifes or interiors. This is the case with the two pieces selected for the Northern Lights exhibition: Something Inside and Yellow Edge. Both paintings were inspired by a journey to the Lake District, before ‘lockdown’, but in the studio they developed into ambiguous boldly coloured images that could perhaps be viewed as both interiors and landscapes. Seen through the lens of this period, when we have spent so much time inside, perhaps thinking about an outside world off limits to us, it seems fitting that they are part this exhibition which aims to ‘bring some colour and light to a challenging time’.
Something Inside, oil on linen framed in oak, 30.5cm x 25.4cm (canvas size). £280 Photo: David Lawson.
Yellow Edge, oil on linen framed in oak, 30.5cm x 25.4cm (canvas size). £280 Photo: David Lawson.