Artist Spotlight: Michael Petry

Beutiful on the surface, Petry's work has depth in both wit and scholarship.

BY Christopher Harrity

March 17 2012 1:00 AM ET

MICHAEL PETRY PARTY 1 X560 | ADVOCATE.COM Four Bits of Scarlet for George the Second was part of a show, "Borders and Identities," curated by David Waterworth at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery situated in the Old Royal Naval College, which is now the University of Greenwich. The installation consisted of four sets of two red glass orbs hanging from original lighting lanterns in a line that directs the eye to the center of the quadrangle where a statue of George II stands. He holds a round orb/globe in his hand representing his rule across the world, which was brought about by his men in scarlet — i.e. soldiers called "redcoats." George himself wears the garb of a Roman emperor, including a leather skirt. His men were also called a "bit of scarlet" in gay parlance, as many offered their services to gentlemen to supplement their meager or nonexistent pay. The red glass balls are the same size as the orb in George’s hand, but hang at the height of his testicles. The baroque building was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built by Nicholas Hawksmoor along strict Masonic lines allowing for the setting sun to illuminate the orbs on an empire which at one point the sun never set. — M.P. 

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