Penny Peckham is a printmaker with a background in art history with a deep love of literature and music and thus much of her work includes text, lyrics or makes direct reference to art historical sources; particularly to art by women, feminist art and traditional women’s handcrafts. She also enjoys producing artists books, most of which are unique. She uses her etching press to print mainly single-colour linocuts, but recently has explored other techniques including cardboard plate drypoint, collagraph and layered coloured monoprints.
For example, a recent body of work called Still Life – Variations was an exploration of colour and texture through the use of simple domestic still life elements; beginning with chairs, which are interesting in their diverse forms, but also embody a powerful and evocative symbolism. An empty chair may be used to acknowledge an absence. Arthur Danto’s discussion of the chair as symbolic of power and authority in his 1987 essay The Seat of the Soul: Three Chairs –part of which was incorporated into some of the works was of particular interest. To his example of the congressional seat, the regal throne and the judicial bench we could also add the academic chair and the verb ‘to chair’ a committee or board.
Imagery and text used in other work derive from such diverse interests as classical mythology, cats, knitting, the formal quality of type, words and symbols and Japanese and Chinese calligraphy; and a love of Leonard Cohen poetry and music.
She has had a number of solo exhibitions and her work has been selected in prize exhibitions including The Silk Cut Award and the Manly Artists Book Award.
During Arts Open you will have to opportunity to see her working at the press, making a collagraph plate, sewing a book or two and you could take the opportunity to have a go at the low-tech method of printing with stencils and a simple gelatin plate.