An active figure in the Bay Area art scene for over forty years, the works of Roland Petersen from the 1960s are masterful synthesis of gestural Abstract Expressionism, painterly realism, and advanced color theory. Born in Denmark, Peterson received his Masters from the University of California at Berkeley in 1950, after which he moved to the East Coast to study under the Abstract Expressionist master Hans Hofmann in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
With their thickly painted, bright, and geometric compositions Girl with Flowers, 1969, and, Autumn Figure, 1964, both resonate the styles of other figurative Bay Area artists such as Richard Diebenkorn and David Park. Colorful yet elusive, Petersen's compositions reflect a deeply rooted sense of place, the California light and serene landscapes of the two paintings are distinctively West Coast. Curator Bruce Guenther summarizes Petersen's paintings as "shatteringly still and exude an irrevocable solidity that is both timeless and yet locked in a specifically transitory milieu" (B. Guenther, Roland Petersen: Works from the 1950s and 1960s, exh. cat., Hackett-Freedman Gallery, San Franciso, 2004, p. 6).