Ray Petersen has been painting and sketching since his early teenage years, but his new exhibition at 205 Lavinia, Raymond Petersen, 2007-2009, will cover works he’s done since his retirement a year and a half ago.
It’s been a productive time for him. Petersen, who holds a Ph.D. in botany, paints memorable forms from nature that have caught his eye. Plants—cardoons and amaranth blooms from his Milton garden, for example—or parts of plants, such as the tops of cottonwood trees glimpsed in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
He also does paintings of images others might fail to notice or regard as perhaps unworthy: cinderblocks noticed in a neighbor’s backyard, stacks of pipes and discarded tools, objects that have stimulated his imagination.
Whatever his subject matter, however, Petersen brings his own vivid style to the work, intensifying colors to heighten beauty and painting his subjects from angles that makes us see what we’re looking at in ways that we haven’t noticed before.