New Feature Exhibition in June May 20 2022

Spencer Pettit:
Elusiveness & Illusion in Contemporary Art

June 4 - July 30, 2022
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 4, 4-7 PM


Spencer Pettit, Rauchenberg's Captiva, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches

About the Exhibition

Spencer Pettit is known for his curious nature and explorative approach to artmaking. Throughout his career as an artist, he experimented with a range of media, processes, and techniques from acrylic and oil painting to monoprints to mixed media sculptures, just to name a few. He placed greater emphasis on process than the finished product, stating, "art is a constantly evolving process of discovery and invention.”

As the title of the show suggests, there is an elusive quality to Pettit’s work. Each piece hints at an idea or place, while remaining shrouded in mystery. There is also a bold confidence to his work, as can be seen in the piece titled Rauchenberg’s Captiva, 2019. In this piece, dark expressive brushstrokes are set against energized colors to create contrast and depth. The abstracted lines, patterns, and textures add emotional complexity as well. This piece gestures a scene of Captiva Island from a window, but Pettit’s depiction is more dreamlike than representational. As the title suggests, this piece also pays homage to the artist Robert Rauschenberg, who undoubtably influenced Pettit’s work in the way he blurred the line between painting and sculpture, through his use of unconventional materials and techniques.

Pettit’s first exhibition at Arts on Douglas was in March of 2021. For that display, he presented a series of monotypes and monotype plates portraying abstracted scenes from his travels. At the end of January of this year, Pettit passed away due to complications from a hereditary medical condition. This occurred at the conclusion of an exhibition of his work at the Orlando City Hall’s Terrace Gallery. In an Orlando Sentinel article that followed, his wife, Heather McPherson stated, “Spencer lived so fully, up to his last minute… I’m just grateful that he got that validation because he was so loved and such a nice person, and all he ever wanted was to be an artist.”

Over the next few months, Heather McPherson and Arts on Douglas Gallery Director, Meghan Martin began discussions to organize an exhibition of his work. Martin explains, “What better way to celebrate Spencer’s legacy and his longstanding passion for the arts than with this comprehensive display of his life's work. I am honored to have this opportunity to work alongside Heather to showcase his many creative endeavors at Arts on Douglas.”

Spencer Pettit, Poppies, 2021, monotype on paper, 20 x 26 inches

About the Artist

Spencer Pettit, who apprenticed with artist Thornton Utz, graduated from Ringling School of Art in 1979 and worked as an Illustrator and Graphic Artist for the Orlando Sentinel until 1985. He spent the next 10 years running his own advertising agency, Spencer Pettit & Associates, and then working as an art director with two other Orlando advertising agencies. His job as an art director overlapped with his personal pursuits as a fine artist, and he began exhibiting work throughout Central Florida including at the Orlando Museum of Art, Crealde School of Art, and the Marie Ferrer Gallery. While still producing his own work, he opened two small art galleries in Mount Dora — Chiaroscuro and Three-Legged Dog.