Conceived somewhere between painting and sculpture, Alexis Petroff’s Floating Drawings represent a seven year investigation into the properties of line and space. Due perhaps to his background in printmaking, Petroff appears especially conscious of layered space. What begins as drawings and collages derived from such disparate sources as Google Earth and childrens’ coloring books, becomes an intermediary from which Petroff is able to further abstract and expand three-dimensionally. Linear elements are articulated into volumetric forms made of cast paper, painted in gouache and supported by a wire armature. Cloth grounds serve to hold larger appliquéd shapes while doubling as spatial dividers. Some works feature semi-transparent silk elements pieced within the ground through which other layers of sculptural elements can be seen. All considered, the work’s compressed dimensionality and dogged adherence to the wall speaks to the dynamics of a stage and its audience. Depth is implied, movement choreographed, and time suspended weightlessly until the next curtain call.
Originally hailing from France, Alexis Petroff moved to New York City when he was twelve, eventually making his way to the Midwest, where he received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1987.