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Dawit L. Petros

Alexander Gray Associates
508 West 26th Street, 2nd floor, 212-399-2636
October 15 - November 15, 2008
Reception: Wednesday, October 15, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Alexander Gray Associates is pleased to present Dawit L. Petros’ first New York solo exhibition. Petros, born in Eritrea and currently living in New York, makes conceptually-based art employing photography, installation, performance and video to explore issues of homeland and trans-nationalism in a globalized age. In Petros’ work, landscape and portraiture are used as devises to construct and de-construct site, language and diaspora.

The exhibition debuts new photographic works created in Eritrea and Kenya. These resulting photographs, of East African landscape, architecture, and residents, are highly formalized through Petros’ lens. His images are further distanced through their presentation; mounted under darkened Plexiglas, and arranged in grids of multiple sizes, the photographs create an architectural experience. Like a reversal of Jeff Wall’s lightboxes, Petros’ “darkboxes” have a psychological luminosity, which further mediates the imagery. Reflective, dark surfaces negotiate the physical experience with the viewer, skewing the reveals of information in the photographs.

Describing his process, the artist states: “Living between geographical locations; Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Canada and the United States, has required the navigation of myriad terrains. This process has provided a set of expansive relationships; an awareness of the necessity of simultaneity; and recognition of the contradictory ties that bind the dispersed to physical and psychic places. In my work, I synthesize ideas and information, in an attempt to integrate visual materials and my own experiences into broader debates of culture, history and ideology.”

Dawit L. Petros was born in Asmara, Eritrea, and received his MFA in 2007 from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He is a 2008-2009 Artist-in-Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem. He has exhibited his work in group shows throughout Canada and in the United States, including the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Wedge Curatorial Projects, Toronto; the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; Photographic Resource Center, Boston; Massachusetts College of Art, Boston; Harbourfront Gallery, Toronto; Observatoire 4, Montreal; Maison de la Culture Frontenac, Montréal; and Prefix Gallery, Toronto. He has received Fulbright and Bombardier Internationalist fellowships, as well as an Art Matters Foundation grant.

The artist has received generous support for this exhibition from the Canada Council for the Arts.
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