britney penouilh

Artist Statement

Truth, essential to philosophical thought, has been debated for thousands of years.  In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, perception is reality.  Prisoners confined to a cave perceived shadows and echoes as ‘real’ images and sounds.  A limited frame of reference prevented them from regarding the shadows and echoes as merely reflections of reality.

Ultimate reality exists on scales infinitely smaller and infinitely larger than the reality we currently experience. Perceptive errors prevent us from naturally regarding scales of reality beyond our own; cognitive reality in the mind is based on experience.  Through experience we expand our ‘frame of reference’.

Technology such as the microscope and telescope provide an experience of realities beyond our natural perception.  Experiencing the crystalline world through a scanning electron microscope inspired my work.  It provoked me to consider and deconstruct the idea of multiple scales of reality existing simultaneously with our own.

In my most recent work, I have metaphorically juxtaposed realities.  Figures are contrasted with geometric structures representing the basic frameworks of microscopic crystals.  The medium is collaged Scientific America Magazine articles, plaster, graphite, vellum, acrylic, and metal leaf on wood.  Each figure makes gestures to the senses – hearing, seeing and speaking – alluding to ways in which we naturally experience reality.