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Steamboat architecture firm to feature monthly art shows in gallery

Artist Kate Petley’s work is featured at Vertical Arts Architecture until Jan. 17.
John F. Russell

If you go

What: Exhibit featuring Kate Petley

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays

Where: Vertical Arts Architecture,

690 Marketplace Plaza

Call: Jennifer at 970-871-0056





Artist Kate Petley’s work is featured at Vertical Arts Architecture until Jan. 17.
John F. Russell

— The subtle softness of Denver artist Kate Petley’s resin-on-panel art has a glossy but understated look, accented by the natural light that streamed into the art gallery at Vertical Arts Architec­­ture on Fri­­day morning.

Outside, the sloping lines of the outline of Mount Wer­­ner bore a similarity to the minimal brush­­strokes in Pet­­ley’s work, an intentional homage to the point where civilization ends and nature begins.

“It’s just observing what the natural world really is,” Petley said about her simple contemporary works. “And we react to that.”



This month, the design and planning firm is launching a new use of the gallery space on the first floor of its Wildhorse Marketplace office.

Petley’s untitled show features several of her recent works and runs through Jan. 17. Petley is represented at the Plus Gallery of Denver.



Vertical Arts interior designer Jennifer Helm said the art gallery will feature a different artist every month, intended to offer a service for the firm’s clients as well as an outlet for artists from across the region.

Upcoming shows include a ski artist and a light installation artist.

Helm said fine art is an important component of the architecture and design process, making the firm a natural setting for a gallery.

“No residence is really complete without art,” Helm said. “Art tells a story behind a residence.”

She said she sold a Petley piece called “Smoke Rings” to a client who wanted a “punch of color” for an organic, funky home.

Helm called Pet­­ley’s work “mountain modern,” a subtle style that can fit into a ranch home alongside more traditional artwork.

“It has a lot of character, and it kind of speaks to you,” Helm said. She said some of the pieces closely resemble lines seen in local mountain scenery, making the works marketable to a skier or mountain climber.

In several pieces, Petley incorporated small pieces of film laden with translucent urban designs.

“I’m using the graffiti elements as a pointer to our everyday surroundings,” she said. “That’s what the heart of this work is about. That edge, where our cities and towns meet the natural environment.”

Petley works in her home studio on the Front Range, where she focuses intently while layering cut-out pieces of film and paint strokes onto Plexiglas. Layer after layer of highly adhesive resin separates the shapes in the pieces, adding dimension.

Because working with resin can be precarious, Petley has to be absolutely sure of what she puts where, because there’s no going back.

“You see every move I make,” she said about her work.

The added dimension gives the works a depth of layers on a subtle and soft surface that Petley intends to look almost like a flat-screen television.

“It’s almost like a monitor,” she said, “because that’s how we’re seeing the world right now.”

But even through a monitor or screen, there is a way to access the wonder and beauty that surrounds urban and rural dwellers.

“I’m trying to reveal the incredible richness in the ordinary environment,” Petley said.


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