After working at the South Rim of Grand Canyon from 1976 – 1980, Alan Petersen came to Flagstaff to study at NAU. In 1983 he was awarded a BFA in painting and art history, and in 1988 an MA in painting. In 1992 he began working at Coconino Community College where is a full-time faculty member teaching drawing, painting and art history. Petersen is also the Curator of Fine Arts at the Museum of Northern Arizona, He has curated exhibitions of work by such notable artists as Bruce Aiken, Merrill Mahaffey, Joella Jean Mahoney, Ed Mell, Shonto Begay, Mark Klett, Tony Foster, and Gunnar Widforss, among others. Petersen is currently working on a monograph on Swedish-American painter Gunnar Widforss and a catalogue raisonné of Widforss’ paintings.
Most of my paintings are inspired by the architectural nature of the landscapes of Grand Canyon and the greater Colorado Plateau region. Others have their source in the stone circles and megalithic sites of England and Scotland; landscapes with timeless, sacred associations. My approach to painting is improvisational and to some extent influenced by jazz. For me, the beauty of paint as a medium is fundamental. I begin with a compositional essence that serves as a point of departure for exploring color, harmony, rhythm, pictorial space, and surface quality. Recently, I began a new body of work that involves traveling on foot and by bicycle to remote locations in and around Grand Canyon to draw and document the sources of uranium in the region. These geological structures, called breccia pipes, are fascinating and highly nuanced . Nuclear science and technology are subjects that I've previously addressed in my paintings of nuclear research and production facilities associated with the Manhattan Project of World War Two and later, the Cold War. There are more than 1,200 breccia pipes and related features found in the greater Grand Canyon region so there is plenty of work for the future .
Studio 4 Comet Gallery At Aspen Place 522 Regent Street
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