We had the good fortune of connecting with Kate Petley and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kate, how do you think about risk?
As a visual artist, risk taking is built into each step. A willingness to continue working and risk total failure is important because mistakes might lead to a better outcome. Experimentation in the studio requires both risk and determination; if I feel doubt about what I’m working on, I use it as a signal that I’m not finished yet. Tolerating that discomfort is part of knowing how to use risk in a positive way.

Risk taking has taught me how to understand my strengths and weaknesses, how to use them to grow personally and professionally. Growth is a major force behind my work and my life, demanding that I ask better questions of myself. There is a lot of rejection in the visual arts and it assumes many different forms. Making the work involves risk, and offering it up to be seen by the public can feel risky and raw. I’m rewarded by knowing that I’ve been true to my nature and done my best every day, even when it was beyond my capacity to see the outcome.

 Kate Petley 2019 ‘When Suddenly’ Archival Print and Acrylic on Canvas 30 x 48” Courtesy of VonLintel  Gallery


Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I committed to being an artist after experiencing a profound tragedy in my family that turned everything upside down. I jumped (or flew) into what has been a thirty-four year process, beginning with sculpture and moving now into a blend of photography and painting. My work is abstract, but it carries a story about transformation… both in the materials I use and for the result. I use light, color, and common materials like cardboard to construct an intensely atmospheric environment.

I am proud of the progress that my history reveals. Nothing about it has been easy. Challenges are daily events, to be expected and utilized as opportunities to improve myself and my work. I am determined to keep going, learning, and pushing myself to realize the best work I’m capable of. If my work can bring a sense of wonder, elevation, or even love to someone else, regardless of their background, then I’ve succeeded. That simple-sounding explanation conceals a profound search. I can’t do it any other way.

     Kate Petley 2021 ‘Equal Measure’ Archival Print and Acrylic on Canvas 72 x 76” Courtesy of Robischon Gallery

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We would be outside if possible. I would want to take them hiking or skiing, to share the immense beauty of the high mountains. Or maybe we would find some new routes to take our bikes for a long spin. If my friend was not up for those activities, we might visit museums and art galleries, discussing what we found and whether or not it resonated with our interests. It’s hard to imagine this scenario and include visiting restaurants; I’m still feeling my way through the re-entry process of a covid induced hibernation.

          Kate Petley 2020 ‘Half Shadow’ Archival Print and Acrylic on Canvas 48 x52” Courtesy of the Artist

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The number one position on my shout-out list goes to my husband, Mark Purvis, who has watched me build a life as an artist from day one. His unfailing belief in me is a gift beyond measure.

I am shouting-out for CU Art Museum Executive Director/Curator Sandra Firmin, Robischon Gallery in Denver, VonLintel Galley in Los Angeles, Orth Contemporary in Tulsa, Manneken Press in Bloomington Illinois, and Barry Whistler Gallery in Dallas. Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art has generously supported my work as a Guest Curator and this could not happen without the support of Executive Director/Chief Curator David Dadone. Arts advocate Kate Nicholson and Lisa Hatchadoorian, Executive Director of the Fort Collins Museum of Art, are major supporters that I rely on.

I am most grateful for these exceptional people and to the others who are dear to me that are not listed here.

         Kate Petley 2020 ‘Anchor’ Archival Print and Acrylic on Canvas 72 x 76” Courtesy of Robischon Gallery

Website: katepetley.com

Instagram: @katepetley

Linkedin: Kate Petley

Facebook: Kate Petley

Image Credits
Image courtesy of Kate Petley

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.