Petula Bloomfield


Petula Bloomfield has been a professional artist since 1990. In 2007, she was accepted into the inaugural group of the first PhD in visual arts program in the US at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. She has a Master of Science in Art from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts from Clark University, Worcester. She has taught at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School in South Hadley since 2003, and has completed residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Castello di Spannocchia, Tuscany. Petula's work was commissioned as a permanent installation for the entrance lobby in the new Sunderland Public Library, Sunderland, MA.

Statement: About Appetite…

My recent work was a body of paintings entitled "Laced" which explored the relationship between physical and emotional identity. In these paintings, I destabilized individual likeness of the figure in favor of presence, upon which the kinetic energy of emotions was superimposed. The technique of using multiple overlaying layers of paint attempted to reveal both the transparent and opaque nature of the physical, emotional and spiritual experience of being human.

Toward the end of the series, the figure was replaced by the object making reference to the tradition of the Dutch still-life painting genre, and to my European background. My paintings "Croquembouche" and "Caprice" with their excessive cakes and fruits piled high make comment on the idea of life-style and appetite. I continued this exploration with digital imaging media and recently spent time in Holland making further studies of traditional Dutch painting. I saw the show "Images of Erasmus" at the Boijmans Museum in Rotterdam which had a profound impact on me. The satirical paintings in the exhibition inspired by Desiderius Erasmus’ work "The Praise of Folly" by artists such as Lucas Cranach, Quinten Massys and Hieronymous Bosch with their portrayal of human shortcomings seemed so timely.

Using the camera and digital media, I composed a series of images that address human appetite. Referred to as consumers in our economic structure whose very existence relies on our consuming ever more and more, we now find ourselves in a state of collapse due to the excessive appetites of the few. At what emotional and spiritual costs are we living our current lifestyle and how do we feed the appetites that truly enrich us?