Inspired by the northern indigenous territories seen while flying to Europe Petry absorbed their delineating marks into her Rivers series created between 1969 and 1971.

Each work's pictorial essence focuses on a specific river identified by its aboriginal name–Aklavik, Atikonak, Yakima, Inuvik, and so on.

The works are devoid of human habitation, flora, fauna, the time of day, allowing Petry to remake the land into a projection of her identity with abstraction, line and colour.

To quote Petry … I am mainly interested in colour: bright, marvelous, luminous colours. Her colours flow, the rivers emerge into the purity of the land she envisions but also the work intuits that within the colours is a forewarning of the harsh environmental changes that have impacted the North.

For several decades Petry has con­tinued to ex­plore the bound­aries  of  abstrac­tion  and  in  the  series  Frag­ments  Un­folding  she frees  the  work  from  tra­ditional  con­siderations  by  placing 
various elements of landscape within origami-like structures, fold follows fold and the image shifts revealing the land as a brilliantly coloured relief, a three dimensional cartography of coloured marks inviting the viewer to enter the work and explore its geography.

Starting in 2002 and continuing to the present, each work in this series is autonomous but when grouped has the effect of soaring across the walls.

Each painted relief can be considered an Arcadia, an ideal that Petry depicts in its many variations.

In these luminescent works Nancy Petry reaffirms her connection to the natural world, a place she revisits time and time again to find the reality behind the physical plane, and an Arcadia both of the mind and within place.

…Somewhere whispering,
Somewhere.
…shimmering in the light…
— NP

Arcadia
Rivers
Fragments Unfolding
Beaux-arts des Amériques
3944 St-Denis
Montreal
May 5—June 18, 2016

Sherbrooke or Mont-Royal->
Image

Aklavik, 1969
acrylic on canvas
90.8 x 121.92 cm

Atikonak, 1971
serigraph, ed. 20 + 2 A/P
67.31 x 52.07 cm

Atkasuk, 1970
serigraph, ed. 25 + 2 A/P
52.07 x 51.17 cm

Fragment XIV
painting on paper

Fragment XVI
painting on paper