Sliced Polygloths

Drawing a sculpture

In her site-responsive installations and works Gelah Penn research the relation between past and present, trying to capture and convey a narrative in abstraction. Her installations occupy space, sometimes quite aggressively, redefines the architectural lines of a room, leaving a feeling of anxiety in the viewer. Penn has an active artistic praxis and will be represented at no less than three group shows this autumn.

The 2017:1947 show at Equity Gallery in Broome Street, celebrates it´s 70th anniversary by featuring works by Gelah Penn, Alva CalyMayor, Sharon Florin, Peter Gynd, Ambre Kelly, Christopher Stout and Bryce Zackery.

At 2017:1947 contemporary artists were invited to show new work in their own style and media that conceptually responds to work of an Artists Equity founding member of his or her choice.  The exhibition brings inspiration and ideas of the past and present together through painting, sculpture and photography. The chosen artists drew inspiration from Yasuo Kuniyoshi (Artists Equity’s first president), Philip Guston, Lily Harmon, Guy Pene du Bois, Charles Sheeler, David Smith and Max Weber. In addition to their studio practices, each of the seven exhibiting artists is an active contributor to the New York art community, embodying the Artists Equity ethos of “artists helping artists.”

Penn will also feature works at the High Tide exhibition at Baker Center for the Arts (Oct – Jan 2018) and at the group show Materiality: The Matter of Matter, at Center for Maine Contemporary Art (Nov. – Feb. 2018). At High Tide Penn will exhibit a site-specific installation. The question of how and why an artist uses materials has been a topic of consideration in the exhibitions. Providing agency to the materials themselves, materials may be looked upon as a means of communication, whether the artists are expanding on traditional media and narratives or utilizing everyday objects to construct new forms.

Gelah Penn´s works are manipulations of almost ephemeral synthetic materials (plastic garbage bags, mosquito netting, monofilament). She stretches, knots and tear throughout whatever space they inhabit. These actions allow her to understand and come to grips with the architectural parameters of a given site.

Her drawings are sculptural. These two facets of her work—drawing and installation—are continuing to come in closer proximity to each other.

2017:1947: Sep. 6 – Oct. 7, 2017
Equity Gallery, 245 Broome Street, NY, NY 10002
Gallery Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 12–6pm, and by appointment

High Tide Oct. 8, 2017 – Jan. 10, 2018
Baker Center for the Arts
Muhlenberg College
2400 West Chew St., Allentown, PA

Materiality: The Matter of Matter Nov. 11, 2017 – Feb. 11, 2018
Center for Maine Contemporary Art
21 Winter St., Rockland, ME


Recent exhibition:
Gelah Penn: Situations and Polyglots
Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, SUNY Old Westbury
Old Westbury, NY