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RobertPetrick.com is currently a New York City based painter, with interests also based in Digital art, Photography & Letter Form Design.________________
In 1984, Robert Petrick stenciled two designs on walls along Avenue B.  Capturing the zeitgeist of the time, EXIST / EXIT and NOWHERE / NOW HERE were photographed and featured in Vogue magazine.  To them, the images exemplified graffiti as art rather than graffiti as vandalism, a concept that was gaining international attention after the release of Charlie Ahearn’s Wild Style and a number of hit songs and music videos.  

Back in the studio, Petrick has continued to work with this spirit in two important series, which draw a link between the street culture of the East Village, where he has lived for 68 years, and the power of language, which he has worked with his entire life.  

His Word Paintings examine language in its purest written form.  When they are painted on the streets, they represent a democratic type of communication.  On canvas, they provide a space for more intimate reflection on the marks that increasingly define our world and interactions.

In his Graffiti Painting series, Petrick manipulates the semiotics of graffiti writing, stretching and compressing both letters and meaning into asemic shapes.  In the aggregation of symbols, piled and stacked on top of each other within the confines of the canvas, one can read the density of the city, a multitude of voices in a confined urban environment.  They are not the ordered squiggles of the Keith Haring / LA2 collaborations; in these works, the raw gestures of written communication are compressed into a chaotic yet elegant jigsaw, flattened of both time and space.

In both series, a concrete interpretation is carried through the transformation but is also altered and rendered ambiguous.  These are acts of aggression against order and conformity, reclaiming a landscape made hostile by city planners and the swagger of corporations, advertising firms and domineering architecture, which begs the question: are these simply works art, or do they hint at linguistic warfare?

Nice, It gives me grat pleasure to hear the analysis of my work and your words take my effort to a higher level. Thanks John.

Thank you, Audra , for your review of my piece. It is true that some of my work references the non objective action paintings of the 50's and early 60's . I started serious painting in the early 70's and I am still drawn to the expressive freedom that flowed from those painterly experiments.  I think where I differ is I am not afraid to change and incorporate a new genre to my repertoire. My bottom line regarding my work is that nothing belongs to the past. Anyway it is great to hear your analysis.

Thanks againJohn you help me to understand my work and is an encouragment for my psyche.

Thank you, John for your review. I had a hard time understanding this piece myself. You explained it better than I ever could, and I really appreciate it.

Thanks for the words, John. I like and agree with your musical analogy.

Sorry John I updated this piece. I was not satisfied with what it was saying. Here is a new attempt. It may hold but sometimes when you live with a piece it reveals itself slowly. The culture of war that prevades the world I think is also having an affect on my painting psyche. I hope to keep those ideas

at bay.

I like how you rendered the moon.

correction: describe

Thanks John, I appreciate the good words. I could not decribe it better.

Thanks for your review, Interestingly I have been compared to Diebencorn before. I do like his work but I would find it hard to work in his color range. I have been painting seriously since about 1968. I have developed several style directions some, like Diebencorn are impressionistic, some of my work are even letter form paintings which I call "Wordart". My current thinking is there is no time element in my work and I feel free to use my old work to reference the new. I am currently developing styles in the form of series. The first of which shown on Altamira's site is the "Construction" series which consists of about 15 paintings. I look forward to hearing more of your point of view.

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