Situations, 2017 (large detail)

Ambiguous Situations and Spaces

Through site-responsive installations and works on paper, Gelah Penn (USA) research the relationship between past and present, trying to capture and convey a narrative in abstraction. Works by Penn is now on display at Amelie A. Wallace Gallery (New York). You´ll also find works by her at the Sunderø Gallery shop.

Penn´s solo exhibition at Amelie A. Wallace Gallery is called “Situations and Polyglots”. The word polyglot refers to the ability to master multiple languages. Multilingualism is common, but individual polyglots or hyperpolyglots speak, study, or use large numbers of languages. Naming the works Polyglots thus suggests objects with layers of meaning, offering the viewer multiple ways of interpreting them.

Penn has a profound interest in film, especially film noir. She thinks her fascination is rooted in the nature of shadow, both metaphorical and actual. The backstory being that her parents were Holocaust survivors. Still, she hesitates to say that her works reflect that. But the Jewish pogroms have an impact, and forms an disquieting and sometimes chaotic background noise for much of how she approaches a subject. There has to be light as well as shadow, she sais, and hope that her seductive materials – like optical plastic and mylar – draw the viewer in and keep her looking for a while.

Penn´s installations occupy space, sometimes quite aggressively. They redefine the architectural lines of a room, leaving a feeling of anxiety in the viewer. Her drawings are sculptural manipulations of synthetic materials (plastic garbage bags, mosquito netting, monofilament etc). She stretches, knots and tear throughout whatever space they inhabit, allowing an understanding of the architectural parameters of a given site.

At Amelie A. Wallace Gallery her installation “Situations” will be realized over the course of ten days, and recent drawings from her “Polyglot” series will also be shown.

A catalogue, with essays by Barry Schwabsky and Hyewon Yi, Ph.D., will accompany the exhibition. The exhibition in on view through May 6.

Picture: Situations, 2017 (large detail), courtesy of Etienne Frossard

Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, SUNY College at Old Westbury 223 Store Hill Road, Old Westbury, Long Island, NY 11568

Gallery hours:
Tuesdays – Thursdays: 12 – 7pm
Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays: 12 – 4pm

By car: Long Island Expressway to exit 41N, 107N to the main gate of SUNY College at Old Westbury; turn left and follow the signs to Campus Center; go downstairs to Wallace Gallery on the main level.

By train: From Penn Station, t ake LIRR to Hicksville, a 45-minute ride.
Taxis are across the street from the statio n, a 10-minute drive to the gallery.