For thirty years Sergei Petrov has been on a journey. It is partly a journey through time and space - from his original home in Russia, through Western Europe and especially France, then to North America and his present home on Pender Island. But Sergei’s journey has also been aesthetic, pursuing images through media that have themselves evolved over this thirty-year span.
Sergei began working within the idiom of the classic tradition of photography. His image ‘Lady on the Red Square’ (1983) has rightly become iconic, reproduced internationally in many different forms and places. Rather than simply pursue further work in this idiom, Sergei chose to move on in his abiding ambition to ‘capture the moment.’ He did not confine his work to the techniques traditionally employed in photography but instead sought means of harnessing novel technologies in capturing and reproducing visual images. The growing possibilities opened up by the development of digital technology thus allowed him to pursue his aesthetic quest in new directions.
One obvious way in which Sergei’s work has changed, as his journey has progressed, has been a shift from representational to more abstract works. As well as the image in itself, the technical means by which it has been captured and reproduced has assumed increasing significance and depth. Works like his pioneering studies of mannequins illustrate this transition - in them the representation of the women’s bodies is in tension with the unique qualities of the medium used. He is painting with light in a new way.
In Sergei Petrov’s most recent work, made by hand with digitally-created textures (OBRAZ), the outcome is simultaneously an exercise in advanced technology and an expression of an acute aesthetic sensibility. But common to the whole progression of his career has been the same abiding ambition. Sergei still wants to ‘capture the moment’, but no longer a particular moment trapped in time and space but a moment that he has himself created through the evolution of the work itself.