Creative Spaces LAB-14 Residency 4

1st October 2016 - 20th December 2016

About Penelope

Penelope Davis is a Melbourne artist primarily known for her post-photographic images, creating photographs without a camera. Using complex sculptural techniques, Davis creates transparent resin casts of selected objects that are then exposed directly on to photographic paper to create uncanny images.

Davis has exhibited extensively throughout Australia and overseas and has been included in many prestigious group exhibitions including, Order & Disorder: Archives and Photography (2008); Light Sensitive: Contemporary Australian Photography (2006), First Impressions (2003), and 2nd Sight (2003), all at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. In 2003 Davis was the recipient of an Australia Council Studio Residency in Tokyo and in 2007 she was the recipient of the ANZ Visual Arts Award. In 2015, Penelope Davis and Stephen Haley were awarded the Rupert Bunny Fellowship to develop a collaborative work. 

Recent curated exhibitions include Ex-libris – the book in contemporary art, Geelong Gallery (2014), Perceptions of Space: Justin Collection, Glen Eira City Gallery (2014), Missing Presumed Dead travelling to regional galleries in Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia (2013), Interieur-Exterieur at Lumas Galleries, Paris (2010), and The Apple Project, AC Institute, New York (2010). An extensive survey exhibition of Davis’ work, Phototropic, was held at the Academy Gallery in Launceston in 2012. 

Penelope Davis’ work is held in numerous public and corporate collections nationally and internationally, including the National Gallery of Victoria, Artbank, ANZ Bank, DC Design China, Victorian College of the Arts, City of Port Phillip, BHP Billiton, University of Melbourne and private collections within Australia, USA, Europe, China and Japan.

How will you use the space?

The studio residency at Carlton Connect will be used to build on themes and techniques I have been developing in recent work. Specifically, the central motif of the jellyfish has been employed as a vehicle to examine the critical contemporary issues of consumption and environmental degradation. To create the works, I cast silicone moulds from a range of objects – discarded industrial devices, electrical equipment, mass produced plastic items, organic vegetation and other sources – and then hand sew them together to create Frankenstein-like amalgams - plausible but mutant jellyfish. In these works, I directly entwine references to human consumption in an urban world to natural forms to envision a delicate balance. 

The studio will be used to develop a new series of works, featuring larger scale, more complex jellyfish objects and intricate ‘sea-pods’.  Working with a lighting designer to illuminate each individual sculptural form from within, I intend to create an immersive installation that recalls the uncanny, dream-like space of the sea floor. I will use programmable LED lighting and possibly video projections to transform the relatively discrete objects into a large scale, fully immersive installation. 

I intend to research and develop my interests in the environmental concerns implicit in the work through engagement with the researchers and scientists based at Carlton Connect space.  Key among these would be the Water Lab headed by Professor Peter Scales, and the Climate Change and Adaptation Lab headed by Associate Professor Richard Eckard.

It is anticipated that by the close of the residency I will exhibit the work in progress within the studio space and invite researchers from Carlton Connect and the general public to attend this open studio event. Where possible, I would invite one of the scientific or environmental researchers I have worked alongside during the period of the residency to open the event. I also intend to exhibit the work in its entirety in a gallery or suitable public space, ideally in 2017.