s e l e c t e d w o r k s
Perhaps it is a generalised certainty that true painters paint from their inner vision inspite of all landscape and models, and it’s probable that artists that are not figurative renounce what is evident in the figure in looking for an image that is more truthful or alive. Does one renounce the figure to find the aura? Are the palpitations and vital articulations better revealed? The projection of the presence?
‘Abstract but with memories’ affirmed Paul Klee. On the other hand Braque (Georges) considered that painting was a sweeping away of the dust from the real with the brush until the necessary was found. I think that Michael Pettet is, for now, in the affirmation of Klee, even though his memories seem more ancestral than personal, more located in what corresponds to the human being than to his own life. Of course he is also in that of Braque, because he seems to sweep the layers of time to find something that could be illustrated tenuously by the sentence of Federico Nietzsche :
‘ In each stone there is an image’.
We do not doubt then that the list of references invoked by the impressions that the work produces in me is illustrious. I warn you that there are some names missing from the list but my intent is to try to describe, maybe more phenomenologically than literarily, what this work has made me think, things further away from and yet closer to the history of art. I believe I see a glimpse of the caves from the beginning of original time, presences like cubed stones that come from the axis of creation up to their visible orbit. Did people live in all of the caves? Were there rituals in almost all of them? There is a face of the sky that would seem to be the face of the sky and also other faces, something like an impassive Mayan face over some mountains, and in another place a face like a Confucian wise man of whom it cannot be known if he walks or meditates because we cannot see his feet. There are territories with winged animals and terrestrial shapes that seem engraved in the ground like that hummingbird of the Incas Nazca Lines only visible from sufficient aerial distance. They would seem like archetypes of fauna from the Rocky Mountains or the Arizona Desert, something like the Coyote or the Eagle. There appear insects engraved in the rock that would make you think something like astronauts and make you remember the work of the great ironist William Blake, the vertical and upright fly, which shows that the fly has many things in common with the man and of course the man with the fly. Violently compounding the tragic conscience of the creature.
There is a canvas that gives me the sensation of the oasis and the ruined time of Micenica. Pettet will know how to tell us or continue to develop his resources to situate at the same time a scene on the beach here and in the palaeolithic time, in Magritte and in Altamira. These and more I perceive for now and I rejoice in what can be achieved from new examinations of his work already completed and of the new that is to come. It’s worthwhile remembering here the painter in Antonioni’s film ‘Blow Up’, who found in an ancient and abandoned canvas where he thought he had painted marks without possible destiny, a surprise of the supreme category for an artist, the perfect leg of a woman.
AUGUSTO PINILLA 1998