The Musée d’art de Joliette takes art to the outdoors with recent work from artist Penelope Stewart. Cloche, presented exclusively on the site of the amphitheatre during the Festival de Lanaudière, consists of a pair of giant photographs showing an oversized bell jar literally encompassing nature. Installed back to back in the wooded area leading to the amphitheatre, the photographs create an optical illusion of “architectural folly.”
With these resoundingly poetic images, Stewart’s work draws us into her preoccupation with volume and space. The pieces consider the somatic experience of light, the greenhouse as a structure capable of capturing nature, the warmth and scent of the earth, the magic of gardens and the utopia of Eden by flipping our notions of inside and outside. Initially intrigued by the formal qualities of glass and by the symbolic significance of the bell jar, photography imposed itself as the ideal means to realise the piece.
Born in Montreal, Penelope Stewart earned her BFA at York University, Toronto, and completed her MFA in Buffalo, at NewYork State University. She exhibits throughout Canada as well as in Europe, Australia and the United States. She is recipient of many prizes and bursaries, including several residencies – the most recent of which was at the Musée Barthète, in France. Penelope Stewart’s work is in several public and private collections, including the Cambridge Galleries, Inco and Oxford Properties. Penelope Stewart lives and works in Toronto where she is represented by the Edward Day Gallery.