Penelope Cain

Penelope Cain A-M Gallery Newtown

Growth At All Costs!

13 May — 30 May

Penelope Cain A-M Gallery Newtown
In Growth At All Costs!, Penelope Cain takes as a broad starting point her ongoing interest in urban landscape and 'the city', as a site for propositional porosities and glitches in the narratives of space, place and function.

This current line of enquiry was triggered by cutting out maps of cities. In Growth Solution #1: Sydney, the artist mapped the form of the built city through flat black sequins, cutting it out and away from its territory. This process opened questions about the economics of land in the city and broader questions about how the economy appears and is presented in the city.

That there is a performative element to economics is a proposition that Cain presents through an intentional collision of apparently disparate elements such as the performance of colonial landscape painting, Victorian mourning jewellery and tribal religious regalia.

Penelope Cain A-M Gallery Newtown

The works propose a visual depiction of economic phrases and terms heard and repeated to the point of mantra, such as that in the show's title - 'growth at all costs'. Cain plays with these using motifs of shields, plaques and monuments, denoting a type of ceremonial intensity, yet renders these propositional economic 'relics' in intentionally oppositional materials such as flyscreen mesh and intensely solid industrial rubber sheeting, decorated perversely with feathers and sequins. Throughout it all, dark humour and a black palate prevail.

Penelope Cain is a Sydney based interdisciplinary artist working with drawing, video and photography. She has an ongoing interest in how we experience, negotiate and produce space and place, and is drawn to the generation of propositional glitches and porosities in the expected narratives of the urban landscape. She was most recently a finalist in the Blake Prize (2014/2015), the Paramor Prize for Art + Innovation (2015), Jacaranda Drawing Prize (2014/2015) and the Hazelhurst Art on Paper Prize (2013). She has recently completed an MFA at Sydney College of the Arts, the University of Sydney (2014).

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