Obsession with nature and the environment has a long tradition in art. “Second Nature” looks past the ingrained cultural mythology of redemption and beauty in nature as its sole aesthetic purpose, to explore deeper connections between ancient traditions and contemporary form. The impulse to fill empty space with patterned versions of nature, from Islamic architectural embellishment, to 19th century Victorian ornamentation, to the self-replicating systems of Cellular Automaton, reveals the deep human obsession to categorize and control the unruly natural world which ultimately, and with great ingenuity, completely reinvents itself.
The impulse to arrange the wild variety of the natural world to fit an intellectual symmetry is a fundamental human urge. Beverly Penn’s sculpture speaks to the power of this desire. Her work explores the contradicting need to both idealize and modify the natural environment.
Beverly Penn was born in Baltimore and now lives and works in Austin. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships including a Rockefeller Foundation residency in Bellagio, Italy; a Connemara Conservancy Artist Grant; grants from the Texas Commission on the Arts and a Fulbright Fellowship in Barcelona, Spain. She has also received nine Texas State University Faculty Research Grants involving research in Mexico, Italy, Spain, and New York.
Beverly’s sculptures are included in the collections of the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., the Austin Museum of Art; the Racine Art Museum; the El Paso Museum of Art; and the Monarch Center for Contemporary Art in Washington. She has been commissioned for several Public Art Projects, including Unity in Diversity in Las Cruces, NM; the Community Core Sample Project and the ThresholdProject with Steve Wiman in Austin, TX; the Natives Project at Whole Foods in Austin, TX; and the 719 Ash Hilton Hotel in San Diego. She is a Professor in the School of Art & Design at Texas State University. McMurtrey Gallery in Houson, William Campbell Contemporary Art in Fort Worth and Lisa Sette Gallery in Phoenix represent her work.
View more of Beverly’s work at www.beverlypenn.com