Arts / Museums

American Debut + Reunion Tour

BY Catherine D. Anspon // 04.08.15

Michael Petry at Hiram Butler Gallery and at Rice U

Michael Petry is arguably the most intriguing visual talent Rice University has ever produced. The El Paso native earned a Rice degree then catapulted on to study in England, capping off his education with a PhD from Middlesex University.

Petry returns to Houston this week for dual purposes: to attend his opening at long-time dealer Hiram Butler Gallery (Saturday, April 11, 11 am to 1 pm) and to serve as headliner for his alma mater’s prestigious Rice University Campbell Lecture Series (“The Trouble with Michael,” April 7 – April 9, 6 pm daily; campbell.rice.edu for details; free but reservations required: campbell.lecture@rice.edu).

At Hiram Butler, we caught up with Petry, who is one of the most politically and socially aware talents working today. “AT the Core of the Algorithm” is both the title of the show and a single masterwork, alluding to the brilliant life and unsolved death of Brit scientist/mathematician/codebreaker Alan Turing (the subject of the Oscar-nominated film The Imitation Game, starring the much buzzed-about Benedict Cumberbatch). Rumors persist that Turing and his death by cyanide apple inspired the Apple Computer logo.

Petry’s simple yet powerful piece, composed of suspended glass orbs of varying sizes and hues, replicates a multiverse arranged according to an underlining algorithmic system. The viewer becomes part of the sculptural installation, which also references the great civil rights issue of our time. It’s one of the must-sees in Texas this spring. Plan to spend serious time in contemplation of what Petry has created, the result of a collaboration with the craftsmen/artisans at Glazenhuis, Lommel, Belgium — the city where the artwork made its European debut.

Michael Petry at Hiram Butler Gallery, exhibition dates April 11 – May 30.

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