Pouring and pentimenti.. Often, Petra Kost will begin a work by pouring highly diluted paint onto the blank canvas. She then turns and tilts it to create the initial contours, gradients and vortices. This kind of provoked happenstance is an integral part of the modern avant-garde..

It is this unity of the antithetical that Kost seeks in her painting. She envisages the abstract and the realist — long bywords for irreconcilable opposites in the history of the visual arts — both together and in parallel. The procedural nature of her approach and the experimental nature of her painting are contrasted with fragments of reality. This energises her works, empowering them to make statements about the world, independently of the incorporeal and complex aggregations found in her working methods, which result from a continuous process of challenge. Her pictures give the story space without one wanting to label them ‘narratives’. She constructs a cosmological background from her colours, a surface that is simultaneously present, yet diffuse. Their interplay, the closeness of the colours to another coupled with their contrast to harsher structures, meshes and lattices generates a poetry all of its own.

The viewer is held captive by the atmosphere in her paintings, the shifts from tranquillity to turbulence. In Petra Kost’s ambiguous visual spaces, new associations and semantic layers appear time and again — yet elude our best efforts to pin down their meaning.

Peter Boué