Vita Petersen - 2007 Exhibition
Vita Petersen’s extensive journey through the world of the figurative took her work from the rigor of perception into an evolution of imaginative abstraction. Observation is synthesized into an original world of color relationships, shapes and rhythms. Pastel is used as the colored dust of life’s mysteries: the medium keeps us in touch with the transient nature of human pleasures and fragility.
Growing up in the Germany of the “Blue Rider” and “Neue Sachlichkeit,” Petersen studied with Carl Hofer in Berlin before fleeing the Nazis in the 1930s. Relocating to New York, she worked with Hans Hofmann and formed friendships with Pollock, de Kooning and Mercedes Matter. It is within this experience of the impact of the New York School on the international art world that we must address her work. Her choice of intimacy of surface and scale has to be seen as being as intentional as Kurt Schwitters’, and her exuberance and optimism for life as sure as Joan Miró.
Much like the buildings she has painted, her work has many levels: the attic contains European memories and the basement is solidly New York American. We might say Vita Petersen does not draw from life, but on life’s experiences.