...These stories are open...
A Professional Photographic Artist, residing in Toronto, ON, Laura Jane Petelko’s work has explored the psychology of ones identity and self-image, simultaneous with transformation and transcendence. Her most recent work, ‘Soft Stories,’ charts new territory for Petelko, as it generates an unfamiliar beauty. Exhibited throughout Canada and the United States, with features at Scope Miami 2018 and Scope New York 2019, Petelko’s ‘Soft Stories’ reaches for a new creative height in her artistic practice.
Inspired from a conversation about ‘Furries’ - a subculture interested in anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics - this work began to take shape. Petelko began to recognize a strange paradigm. One that connects rather than separates. She identified a desperate need for intimacy in a technological world; a collective longing to commune with nature at a time of environmental crisis.
In meticulously created costumes, designer Sara Wood explores the “suits” as metaphoric armour, while creating a soft and tactile invitation to connect.
Petelko and Wood worked together to define these creatures, so that they might enter into a place of deep sincerity and an earnestness that is (almost) unfamiliar. The photographs depict a very human attempt to commune with and inhabit nature. The notion is both audacious and sincere. Flawed and symptomatic of our time.
With all of Petelko's work, there is the drive to find beauty in what lays beneath the surface. The intention to seek connection while losing our grip on that, contrast against the human drive to consume our natural world.
This work is about the beautiful world that we tread upon with need and appetite. It conveys the creation of distance in today’s modern world and the beauty and longing that invariably exists behind the artifice, yearning to thrive.