Exhibition: Phototropic


Images in this exhibition are not simple photographs but record a process

Start Date

4th May 2012

End Date

25th May 2012


Academy Gallery, University of Tasmania, Inveresk campus

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Exhibition opening: 5.30 - 7pm Friday 4 May 2012

Exhibition opening speaker: Professor Marie Sierra, Head, School of Visual and Performing Arts, University of Tasmania

Exhibition dates: 4 - 25 May 2012

Exhibition artist: Penelope Davis


Penelope Davis produces photographic images without a camera. By moulding and casting objects in materials such as resin and silicone, detailed copies are produced. These are then placed on photographic paper and exposed to coloured light to create ‘photograms’ or, more recently, placed in a scanner and subjected to digital manipulations.

The final images in this exhibition are not simple photographs but record a process - a chain of transformations and inversions - that creates the trace of an object many steps removed from its origin. Like photography itself, my working process transforms the substance of the original referent into something other - a ghostly, absent shadow of itself.

These materials and techniques allow me to play with some of the procedures and assumptions central to photographic practice. The central motif for each body of work is also important, a pivot that is both recognisable and evocative – cameras used as negatives to create self reflexive portraits, and cloth or leather bound books, repositories of personal and collective memories.

In Phototropic Davis' latest body of work, jellyfish forms have been assembled from a collage of components cast in silicone. The resulting swarm – or smack, as the collective noun is properly known – is displayed as an installation of semi transparent, suspended forms, a vehicle for examining contemporary issues of consumption and environmental degradation.

Penelope Davis has exhibited widely throughout Australia and overseas, most recently in Interieur – Exterieur at Lumas in Paris, and Smack at Nellie Castan Gallery in Melbourne. In 2010, Davis exhibited work in The Apple Project, AC Institute, New York. In 2007 she was the recipient of the ANZ Visual Arts Award. Davis has been a selected finalist in several other award exhibitions including the Josephine Ulrich and Wynn Schubert Photography Award (2007, 2009); the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize (2007) and the Fremantle Print Award (2007). Her work has been included in many prestigious group exhibitions including Order and Disorder: Archives and Photography (2008); Light Sensitive: Contemporary Australian Photography (2006) and First Impressions (2003), all at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. She was also a selected finalist in the Moet and Chandon Touring Exhibition, touring all state galleries, in 1999. In 2003 Davis was the recipient of an Australia Council Studio Residency in Tokyo. Her work is also included in many important public, corporate and private collections.

Penelope Davis lives and works in Melbourne, Victoria.

Phototropic is presented as part of the Academy Gallery Master Artist Program.

Gallery A & B