SCATTERED FEATHERS: THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA
Mr. Pettit received his B.F.A. with honors from the University of Mississippi in 2013. He will receive his M.F.A. from Louisiana State University in May of 2018.
In addition to his photographic art which spans the spectrum of documentary and narrative forms, he is also a recognized filmmaker and painter. He has had numerous shows in both Oxford, MS and Baton Rouge, LA, as well as his hometown of Clarksdale, MS.
Strongly influenced by both the Impressionists and Expressionists, his paintings explore the figure and memory through tableaus of street life in major cities across the U.S. His films, on the other hand, explore the dark psychological terrain of characters caught in crisis and often harken back to the form of the film-noir, which also informs his photography.
Mr. Pettit's photography references the narrative in an oblique manner, forcing the viewer to make inferences as to meaning and relation.
ABOUT SCATTERED FEATHERS:
The erosion of the landscape by human means irrevocably altered the habitat of the ivory-billed woodpecker. Actions like these have led to the implementation of systematic conservation methods. These methods, while helping to raise public awareness, have also led to a distortion of perceptions about endangered species.
Within this world of conservation, the act of observation stands apart for me. Bird watching is an action that is separate from intervention. It is the act of seeing that most intrigues me. As in photography, observation, not just seeing, helps us to understand the world we live in.
The acts of watching, archiving and remembering are critical in constructing this work as a meditation on the fragility of existence. Our memories are mutable, our experience subject to alteration. Like the ivory-billed woodpecker, our existence is constantly in peril. We live our lives under the threat of multiple existential problems.
The examination of the narrative of the ivory-billed woodpecker has exposed these philosophical concerns for me. Inside that story, our own existence and meaning is interwoven. The cyclical nature of our lives becomes more transparent in this context and the paradox of our actions clearer. For every problem we look for a solution and with that solution we create another set of obstructions.