Gerald Penry | Graphic Standards and Architectural Anomalies

June 16 - July 8 Reception:Saturday, June 17 @ 3 - 5 pm
Artist Talk: June 17 @ 3:30 pm
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Wall Space Gallery is proud to debut the paintings of Gerald Penry. In this exhibition Penry will be presenting continuations of hisChimerical Places and Plane Geometry series. Through an intricate process of layered acrylic paint, Penry weaves images of impossible architectural structures. Freed from the laws of physics, his constructions open an imaginative world of speculation and possibility. 

Chimerical Places Three: ChPI III - 28, Acrylic on canvas on fir stretcher, 18 1/8 x 23 1/8 in.
Chimerical Places Three: ChPI III - 29, Acrylic on canvas on fir stretcher, 18 1/8 x 23 1/8 in.
Chimerical Places Three: ChPI III - 30, Acrylic on canvas on fir stretcher, 18 1/8 x 23 1/8 in.

Penry's background in architectural drafting informs his current painting practice from a technical
and creative standpoint. Much like architectural drawings, Penry's build-up of forms and colours gradually emerges from the meticulous application of lines. He finds intrigue in the laborious application of acrylic paint in thread like strokes that visually intertwine with one another, slowly
shimmering with the illusion of three-dimensionality. 

Penry never allows his fantasy architectural planes to fully break from their drawing roots. They remain keenly based in two-dimensionality. It's the humming tension between flatness and form that makes his paintings so visually enticing. Penry is a master of precarious moments that push structures forward or allow them to collapse.

  • Plane Geometry 05: Cavalier vs Cabinet - Cavalier, acrylic on canvas, 27 7/8 x 27 7/8 in.

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  • Plane Geometry 04: Not Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue, acrylic on canvas, 40 3/8 x 46 1/2 in.

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  • Plane Geometry 06: Cavalier vs Cabinet - Cabinet, acrylic on canvas, 27 7/8 x 27 7/8 in.

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In ChPl III – 34: Dark Façade, Penry captures the luminosity of what could be a stained-glass window illuminated at night. He navigates luminosity and colour through a technique similar to optical mixing, allowing flecks of underlying colours to be glimpsed through one another, reminiscent of the style used historically by impressionist painters to capture light and atmosphere. The layering of colour side by side combines visually to create vibrational relationships between colours. His intricate woven canvases are evocative of tapestries or lines of matrix code, placing his imagined structures between a digital rendering and the tangibility of textile.

This oscillating space that Penry opens up is essential to the sentiment of his work – to envision the uncreatable, and in the process, foster imagined utopicspaces.

- Tiffany April, Curator

ChPl III - 34: Dark Facade, acrylic on canvas on cedar stretcher, 53 x 57 in.

I like the way a series of work documents an evolving idea: each piece in the series represents a snapshot of the idea at that moment. Sometimes the difference between pieces is apparent, such as overall scale or colour scheme; other times it is subtle, like the direction or size of brush strokes. Although I have several series to which I return as I am compelled, my most enduring has been Chimerical Places. I contrived this quirky title in 1999 to describe a great volume of architectural drawings that were bestowed upon me, mostly via fax, by their author gradually over a period of
about ten years. Like the adjective describes, these 'chimerical' sketches, as I received them, are simple delineations of imaginary, highly unrealistic structures, though some do seem to reference notable works of architecture. Using these drawings as frameworks for exploring elements of art, such as colour, rhythm, texture, etc., my objective is to create pictures that challenge perceptions of the representation of objects on a two dimensional plane. Chimerical Places Three, the third and current manifestation of these sketches, are the product of explorations in paint of the aesthetics of
architectural drawing, playing with ambiguities of commingling systems of mechanical representation while developing painterly equivalents of pencil field rendering techniques. Although each of my series entails certain specific aspects of exploration, common to all is an ambition to develop an aesthetic that strikes a harmonious balance between concept and technique.

- Gerald Penry

Graphic Standards and Architectural Anomalies Catalogue

I studied fine arts for six years at The University of British Columbia, earning a BFA in 1995 and MFA in 1997 and receiving the Florence Muriel Smeltzer Scholarship for Painting in 1994. This period of intense creative training was a compatible interruption within a career in architecture -- about ten years as a draftsman aspiring to be an architect before and another fifteen years as an artist content with designing, sketching, rendering, detailing, and model making after. The highlight of my career in architecture has undoubtedly been a decade of employment (1995 – 2005) with Nick Milkovich Architects Inc. in association with preeminent Canadian architect Arthur Erickson; at that exceptional firm – a truly educational studio environment – I learned a uniquely sensitive approach to
design and refined the skill of crafting beautiful architectural drawings. I applied my fine arts sensibilities to my work in architecture; my architectural tendencies certainly inform my creative process and production.