Recovering Lost Forms: A Conversation with Penny Harris
by Paula Llull
Speaking with Australian sculptor Penny Harris about her current body of work opens an exciting conversation about archaeology, trans-oceanic travel, and interwoven stories. Harris is looking for new challenges, and so, she has been accumulating facts, ideas, and techniques. All of this material converges in a single goal: to catch time in an object that lets materials talk. It may sound complex, but when listening to Harris’s motivations, the poetry of her work becomes clear. Bronze, its resilience and surface treatment, drives the narratives behind her sculptures, which result from the slow burning of real objects. This is the same process enacted at Pompeii during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. That tragedy created a magnificent archaeological site, where the ordinary objects of domestic life are preserved and encased in a kind of poetics—very much like Harris’s work...see the entire article in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.
The Cellar and the Grove Snail (detail), 2009. Cast bronze, 26 x 47 x 9 cm. Photo by Paul Green.