Beverly Penn : Fractured Landscapes
28 Jan, 2015. 0 Comments. past exhibition. Posted By: Gilon Gutkin

 02.13 – 05.01

Beverly-Penn-400The place of my work is the Garden, a space in which nature and human design negotiate a mutual existence along an indistinct boundary.  As a cultivated border between civilization and wilderness, the Garden is a surreal expression of nature tamed, a transformative buffer zone with potential for mystery, exaggeration, and fantasy.  The Garden is a hybrid construction of nature, science and architecture – it is a place that allows for the exchange of one reality for another.  Within the Garden, comparisons between urban development and panoramic vision; suburban sprawl and paradise lost; and genetic engineering and natural selection can be articulated.

Posing elements from landscape against human constructions is one means of articulating both the tragic and humorous complexities of contemporary culture. As the constructed environment steadily eclipses the natural world, mediated experience gradually replaces our direct interaction with our surroundings.  This changes who we are and likewise reconstructs our sense of place in the world.

My most recent work explores a group of plants with which people have had to contend for places.  The pieces also attempt to reveal the deeper cultural significances of the contest itself.  Historian Neil Clayton has written extensively about environment and history.  He writes:  “In the Western world weeds have been defined and redefined according to the cultural ideas and outlooks of peoples who have tried to compete with them for open places, over many millennia.  Somewhere along the way ‘weed’ emerged as a concept, and became embedded in and expressed through language.” (Neil Clayton, “Weeds, People and Contested Places”, Environment and History, White Horse Press, Vol. 9, No. 3, August 2003).