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John Petrey

(b.1958) born in California, lives in Chattanooga
Copper Bodice with Twig Skirt, n.d.
copper, brass, wood, 55 x 33 x 24 inches, 2015.65.12

Finding artistic inspiration through perusing junkyards and flea markets, Petrey’s sculptural garments are easily recognized by his inclusion of unusual and unlikely materials such as flattened bottle caps, plastic forks and spoons, poker chips, and recycled and salvaged metal advertisement signs. The base structure of his sculptures is typically made of resin, steel and fiberglass. Petrey then shapes and manipulates unconventional materials to take the form of pant suits, dresses, and other apparel reminiscent of outfits actors in 1950s and 60s television shows wore.

Petrey earned an A.S. in Graphic Design at Mount San Jacinto College in San Jacinto, CA and a B.S. in Commercial Photography from the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA. After graduating, Petrey continued to win awards for his photographs; then in 2003, he closed his photo studio to focus his artistic endeavors toward sculpture.

Petrey’s art is in permanent collections in California, Florida and Missouri. Tennessee collections include the Edwin Hotel in Chattanooga, The Tennessee State Museum in Nashville, and Mr. and Mrs. Janet Ayers collection at FirstBank in Nashville. His work and has been on view in galleries and museums across the country.

“Images in nature, art and new technology all influence me. I’m especially intrigued by the moments in life that catch my eye. Random ideas that erupt in my mind, and words people say that just hang in the air.” -Petrey