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Yvonne Petkus



As a process-driven artist, I am invested in painting as a physical act of thinking. I use painting as a way to wade through philosophical and psychological questions resulting in a recurring figure held in expressly ambiguous spaces.


I work from a place of questioning, of searching for resonances. Realizations are found through the additive and subtractive act of painting and the freedom of image deviation and invention that painting allows. Each piece is formed and broken, and formed again, by mark-making as a living action.


Witness: Bosnian-influenced Paintings is work that comes from a fellowship that took me to Bosnia and Herzegovina in May 2017. This experience, which included three months of study followed by in-country research and exploration, was intense, beautiful, emotional, at some times difficult, and at all times supremely interesting and inspiring. Working from sources gathered, including sketches, photos, and interviews, each painting acts as a meditation, a grasping – a search for meanings that build physically beyond any particulars but are informed by those same particulars, and remain embedded in the works.


By exploring ideas of struggle and survival, of vulnerability and the stubbornness necessary to persist, the work is intended as a mechanism to address the larger, most difficult, and most human of concerns that live with us just under the skin.


My process sieves what I see, think, and research through a physical struggle of marks in continual negotiation, fought hard, until each world is found and solidified into its own language across the surface. This exhibition is specifically processing my research on Bosnia, where the vulnerability and endurance of the body continues to hold the residues of war that are still so evident.

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