Pallant House Gallery is pleased to present a new contemporary installation in the Queen Anne townhouse by American multimedia artist Michael Petry (b. 1960). The installation features glass sculptures created in direct response to the forms of the grand staircase, and historic mirrors echoing the story of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’. The installation is on display until spring 2016.

Utilising traditional glass-making techniques Petry’s large installation creates a dialogue with the Gallery’s historic glass collections, exploring questions of gender, craftsmanship and decoration.

In the grand stairwell of the historic Queen Anne townhouse Michael Petry’s new work entitled ‘A Twist in Time’ (2015) is a spiral of colourful blown glass which curves down through the space. Made up of 25 pieces measuring approximately two feet each, their form has been directly inspired by the twisted shape of the bannisters. Clear versions of ‘A Twist in Time’ entitled ‘Ghosts’ will also be installed throughout the house, designed to blend into the background to be discovered by visitors. The glass was fabricated for Petry by students and staff at the Plymouth College of Art.

Also on display will be ‘Bad Restorations’ (2014/15), a series of mirrored works created using a process of layering sheets of glass, sterling silver or 24 carat gold. Reflections are therefore broken up, darkened of distorted in some way, reflecting the decay of Dorian Gray portrayed in the eponymous painting of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’.

Throughout the house further interventions will occur amongst the Gallery’s collections. This includes ‘Lovers’, a number of smaller glass and metal sculptures placed in the Irish Glass collection in Room 3. These works explore the space between fine art and craft and have been made under Petry’s supervision by glass workers in the UK and in Murano (Venice).

Alongside these, a full sized bronze arrow ‘Libation to Eros’ will be on display. ‘Libation to Eros’ is one of several works that reflect Petry’s interest in creation myths and Greek mythology. Similar to a libation bowl exhibited in the Frontiers Reimagined exhibition as part of this year’s Venice Biennale, ‘Libation to Dionysius’ takes the form of a huge 24 carat gold glazed porcelain bowl filled with red wine, which glows when in direct sunlight and acts like a mirror when it is not. All of Petry’s porcelain works are made to his design in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen where pottery has been made for almost 2000 years.

Michael Petry joins the line-up of contemporary artists commissioned to produce new work for the stairwell of the house at Pallant House Gallery, which has also included Alice Kettle (2014), Bouke de Vries (2013) and Susie MacMurray (2006). This programme is supported by Arts Council England.

Notes to Editors

Michael Petry and Artistic Director of Pallant House Gallery Simon Martin are available for interview.

The Eros Pin for sale in The Pallant Bookshop

To accompany Michael Petry’s ‘A Twist in Time’ installation an artist’s multiple entitled ‘The Eros Pin’ has been made by jeweller Jayne Jordan to Petry’s design. The handmade artwork in the form of an arrow can be worn as a unisex accessory. It is available in the Bookshop as a special limited edition of 10 in sterling silver patinated in bronze (£125, inc VAT) and as an unlimited edition in sterling silver (£35, inc VAT).

About Michael Petry

Michael Petry (b. Texas, 1960) has lived in London since 1981. An artist, author and Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) London, he is also a Guest Curator for Futurecity.  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 recent one man show The Touch of the Oracle at the Palm Springs Art Museum (2012) was accompanied by a ten year career review book distributed by Thames & Hudson. His new book Nature Morte: Contemporary Artists reinvigorate the Still-Life tradition, was published in four hard back editions, Thames & Hudson (UK/American), Hirmer (German) and Ludion (Dutch). A related exhibition curated by Petry will start a European museum tour in June.

About Pallant House Gallery

Pallant House Gallery is a unique combination of an historic Queen Anne townhouse and contemporary extension, housing one of the best collections of Modern British art in the country. Widely acclaimed for its innovative temporary exhibitions and exemplary Learning and Community Programme which has inclusion at its heart, the Gallery has won numerous awards since re-opening in 2006, including the Gulbenkian Prize, the largest for arts and cultural organisations in the country.

Summer season exhibitions

Sickert in Dieppe (4 July – 4 October 2014)

A major exhibition exploring how the picturesque French seaside resort of Dieppe proved to be such a formative setting for British painter Walter Sickert (1860–1942). A popular destination from the middle of the 1800s for British writers and artists including Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley, Dieppe held Sickert’s attention for over four decades, during which he was a regular visitor and a permanent resident from 1898–1905. Over 80 paintings, prints, preparatory drawings and etchings show Sickert’s vivid interest in everyday life in Dieppe - the town’s architecture, harbour and fishing quarter, the shops, café culture and its inhabitants. The exhibition also charts the development of Sickert’s pictorial technique during this period, showing the influence of European artists as diverse Degas, Whistler and the Impressionists. An accompanying display features works by artists who have been influenced by Sickert including Frank Auerbach, David Bomberg, Keith Coventry and Celia Paul.

St Ives and British Modernism: The George and Ann Dannatt Collection (13 June – 20 September 2015)

Marking the centenary of George Dannatt’s birth in 1915, this exhibition will explore one of Pallant House Gallery’s most significant donations, the George and Ann Dannatt Gift. It includes a largely unseen and newly conserved group of paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints by key figures associated with the St Ives Group of Artists in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, including Terry Frost, Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon, Ben Nicholson and John Tunnard.

Kenneth Rowntree (1915 – 1997): A Centenary Exhibition

(22 July – 18 October 2015)

Touring from the Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden, this exhibition marks the centenary of the birth of Kenneth Rowntree, official war artist known for his works in oil and watercolour.

Nek Chand (13 June – 25 October 2015)

An installation of mosaic figures by renowned Indian Outsider Artist Nek Chand, known for his famous sculpture park, the Rock Garden of Chandigarh, India.