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Sitting Under a Full Moon, 2015

Natalie Petrosky (1989 -)

Sitting Under a Full Moon, 2015

Materials: Acrylic, oil bar, and found fabrics on panel, 53 x 69”

Location at Summa Health:  Dr. Gary B. and Pamela S. Williams Tower on the Akron Campus (141 N. Forge St.), blue neighborhood, second floor hallway, between patient rooms H2-314 and H2-315.

About the art and artist

The pale tone of the central shape, with that strong black contour line, kind of gives it away: Natalie Petrosky’s large, mixed-media work presents us with an unmistakable bump that its title confirms.  Women have associated pregnancy and the moon since Paleolithic times – such as in the relief of a pregnant woman holding a moon-like crescent while the other hand rests on her swollen belly – and here we get an intimate, contemporary update. We can enjoy this highly abstracted painting and collage (which is why the artist calls it “mixed media”) as an exercise in balancing curved and rectilinear forms and in use of restrained color and texture: Get up close to recognize that some areas are really fabric, and then pick up on the moiré effect of several of these.

And we can enjoy the reverberations that arise when we think of it in the context of pregnancy (which, we think, is likely, given its current location outside the birthing tubs in Summa’s new patient tower – that location was chosen deliberately!). The forms are evocative rather than detailed – Is that the full moon there on the right, half-concealed by that belly? How many times does the artist repeat that big curve, growing fuller with each concentric sweep? – which gives the work its power to surprise and delight. 

Artists debate about the role that titles can or do play in their work, and you may have noticed that frequently they decline to title a work (that “untitled” on so many labels). This may be because they are undecided about which to choose from among the many titles that have occurred to them during the course of making a work. At other times, they don’t want to interfere with the beholder’s own experience of the work by layering on indicators of meaning that might feel extraneous or at least outside the beholder’s first encounter with the art object (or in some cases, contradict it or cause disappointment). Here, Natalie Petrosky wants us in on the joke, indirectly through the title she has provided, but certainly. And, we expect, most women and not a few men almost instantly empathize with the heavy, monumental feeling that this work of art both creates and evokes.

Akron-born Natalie Petrosky majored in glass to earn the B.F.A. degree at Kent State University and then went on to focus on painting and drawing at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she completed the M.F.A. She teaches in post-secondary schools in Northeastern Ohio – the Cleveland Institute of Art, Cuyahoga Community College, and Kent State – while also engaging in her own studio practice and work as a curator of installations and exhibitions. In recent paintings, she has incorporated textiles as collage elements, recalling that she grew up with textiles, her mother being a fiber artist with a home loom. Now judiciously chosen textile elements complement colors in the palette of each painting, adding complexity and texture, ‘though subtly, incorporated into the boldness of her big, abstract formal explorations.

Where you can see more of this artist’s work:

Petrosky has been active in exhibiting her work in solo and group shows in Akron, Knoxville, Cleveland, Toledo, Boston, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C.; a forthcoming exhibition in Milwaukee has been the focus of much recent preparation. She lives in Cleveland, where she also does innovative curatorial work, such as Black Ice in 2018. The project then moved to Reno, Nevada, Heat [link: HEATphoto.png]. Both featured site-specific, time-based work screened inside vehicles and the surrounding area (so “mobile galleries”) by local artists [link: Heatphoto.jpg].

You can also find published work by the artist on-ine, such as at Be.Long.Ing and in print format such as Erika B. Hess’ I Like Your Work 2019 and New American Paintings No. 135 (from The Open Studio Press, Boston). 

The healing arts at Summa Health





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