It’s always a bold move when an artist opts to change up his or her style. So when L.A.-based artist Joshua Petker opened his solo show, Adrift, at Labasse Projects at the start of the summer with a new series of paintings focused on nautical themes as opposed to his characteristic super-stylized portraits, some were skeptical. But, as viewers quickly realized, his decision to chart new waters was a brilliant one.
Petker points to a quote he uncovered by Anna Freud as inspiration for his latest work: “We are imprisoned in the realm of life, like a sailor on his tiny boat, on an infinite ocean,” the famed founder of child psychoanalysis once said. Having become a full-time artist just a few years ago, he’s been focusing on researching and reading instead of struggling to juggle painting with a day job. The self-realization he’s gleaned from the experience is embodied in his latest creations of sea, ships, and voyages. More conceptual and ever-engrossing, these whimsical vessels mark the start of an exciting cruise for the west coast talent.