In an expansive body of work, Gelah Penn continues to develop her interest in perceptual incident and materiality in space.
“Uneasy Terms”, her new show at Undercurrent in Dumbo, comprises a 33-ft-long site-responsive installation in a dramatic stairwell (Prologue), a group of monumental constructed drawings (Stele), and 99 collages from an ongoing project based on Samuel Richardson´s 18th-century epistolary novel Clarissa (Notes on Clarissa. Volume I).
Notes on Clarissa (Volume I) is the first part of an ongoing project based on the 500+ letters in the novel’s four volumes. The correspondence takes place primarily between the four principal characters; Clarissa, Lovelace and their two best friends. This drama of a young woman’s seduction, betrayal, violation and death, and its central themes of gender and power, feels particularly modern. Each of the 99 collages corresponds to the content and tenor of one of the letters, and is derived from exhibition cards of Penn´s previous site-responsive installation Ebb Tide, 2019.
The synthetic materials Penn uses in the collages are the same as those she deploys in the installations, e.g., Mylar, optical plastics, plastic garbage bags, and mosquito netting. This considered manipulation of exhibition ephemera highlights the interplay between materials used in her installations and the photographic representation of them. In this way, she insinuate her own work into the extraordinary narrative of the novel.
Where: Undercurrent in Dumbo (Broklyn USA)
The exhibition is open until 14. March.
Gallery hours: Thursday – Saturday 1-7 PM
March 7. There will be a conversation between Gelah Penn and artist, curator and writer Tom McGlynn