Petra McCarthy's work is deliberately located within the expressionistic tradition of abstract painting. She explores a spontaneous type of organic abstraction but through a unique and radical process of inversion, which calls into question the formal concerns of colour and mark making.
McCarthy applies layers of paint in a gestural manner on to a conventionally stretched canvas, before using a same-size Perspex panel to 'entrap' the paint against the canvas. 'This is a complex process,' she explains, 'akin to printing. Selected elements of the painted surface are transferred onto the underside of the Perspex. The Perspex is then mounted above the surface of the canvas so as to become the primary image, while the marks on the canvas, which remain visible, play an important secondary role as fail, background and formal reference point.'
McCarthy has exhibited extensively in America and the UK, including showing at the Liverpool Biennale and having a solo exhibition at the Salford Museum and Art Gallery.