Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Channing Penna exhibit at the Boston Public Libary

With the way the economy is going, we're going to have to learn to live on the cheap for years to come. And one of the best deals is still the Boston Public Library. I've never been disappointed, and many times amazed, by the quality of the exhibits the BPL puts on. And the current one, Movingline, drawings by Channing Penna, ranks right up there as being one of the best I've seen.

This is a series of 68 extraordinarily detailed pencil sketches depicting the force and the power of nature, plus some of her earlier portrait work of local celebs and everyday Bostonians tagged on at the end, which I could have done without them because, for me at least, they undercut the majestic feeling I felt throughout the main part of the exhibit.

The focus of the exhibit is Penna's sketches that, while detailed, are not precise renderings; rather, they are the visual representations of how Penna feels for the three main subjects she portrays: ocean waves, birds in flight, and horses. Think abstract expressionism meets the Audubon. This is Penna's own personal world we're seeing, and that's underscored by the personal writings that accompany each work, giving Penna's thoughts and reasoning for and about each image. The personal backstory coupled with the images give not only a powerful visual experience but also critical insight into the creative process of the artist.

Here is a video of Penna explaining her work and the exhibit. You'll get a good idea of the exhibit from this. You'll be able to view Channing Penna's work at the BPL until November 30.

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