Repeated bovine forms drip down the canvas or emerge from grass-green impasto backgrounds in Mike Petre’s exhibition of new works. From the extremely large stretched canvas to the small framed works on paper, Mike Petre brings cattle into the spotlight.
The very accurate anatomically correct proportions and the huge size of Field Study 114 makes it is easy to believe one is in the midst of a herd of these large confronting beasts. It is clear Petre knows these animals inside and out.
The black and white mixed media on paper works have expressive and deceivingly simple ink and paint application. With a single brush stroke Petre produces light and shadow, form and shape - torsos and heads float in space. He manages to simultaneously allude to rain drenched cattle on a stormy day and hanging carcasses in a butchery.
Thick impasto oil paint is applied to paper in Field Studies 147 – 152. In these works the animals start to merge into the landscape: Petre’s cattle are truly an integral part of the rural environment.
Standing in the gallery surrounded by these inquisitive looking beasts one gets a strong sense that the more you look the more interest the subject matter has in looking back. This is the artist’s unusual, deliberate and confident accomplishment.