Katalogtext till utställningen vid Konstakademien i Stockholm, 2007
av Niclas Östling
There is good reason for issuing a word of warning to anyone who is holding this catalogue in
Margareta Petré´s works cannot be reproduced in print without losing their most essential qualities. One may then wonder as to the value of a publication like this and the answer must be that it is a useful aide- mémoire for anyone who has seen the works in reality.
We may also hope that it will encourage people to seek out Margareta Petré´s work and to experience at first hand what the reproductions can only hint at( in spite of the fact that the photographs in the catalogue are of exceptional quality)
What is it, then, that we lose when we look at the illustrations in the catalogue; and why is this loss so important with regard to Margareta Petré´s work? Her paintings are infused with a light which, with a perceptible movement – the temporal aspect is very evident in spite of the works being paintings – forces its way out through the thin layers of paint, lending the images a quietly glowing lustre. In some of the paintings there is a clear, cold radiance and, in others, a muted but intense light. If we are really to experience the light that comes from within the painting, like the glow of a candle in a snowball lantern, we have to let our eyes grow accustomed to the specific tone of the painting.
Viewing one of her paintings is like walking into a dark room or out into bright sunlight; at first everything seems dark or dazzling but when our vision has adjusted itself the nuances become evident. There are several factors which might explain why this characteristic is difficult or impossible to convey in a photograph, size being one of them. The paint applied layer upon layer, is generously spread across substantial canvases and this leads to the beholder being caught up in a surface with a notably sensual character.
The sense of space in the paintings is not created using lines to build up volume architecturally. The feeling of three – dimensionality is generated using considerably more subtle methods – drifts or ridges of paint that are difficult to reproduce at a reduced scale.
In reduced form decreases also the impression of the surfaces´ materiality, the variations of the light and the colour tones are limited and nothing is no longer the same.
Curator at Liljevalchs konsthall
Stockholm, February 2007
Translation William Jewson