Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Superdry and other panoramas by Penelope Cain

Penelope Cain, Panorama at the base of the Cherry Blossom mountain, 2014. Courtesy of MOP.
Penelope Cain
Superdry and other panoramas 
MOP: 23 July - 17 August, 2014

Have you ever had a meal and you just can't seem to put your finger on a certain flavour. It's right there, on the tip of your tongue - you know you know it but you just can't seem to verbalise it. In a sense, that is what Penelope Cain's exhibition Superdry and other panoramas was for me. I irrefutably loved it and yet I have sat here for two days trying to find the words to explain why. Still not sure I've got it but here goes, bare with me. 
Penelope Cain, Superdry, 2014. Courtesy of MOP.
Navigating that age-old rocky terrain between the beauty of the landscape and the structure of the constructed, built environment, Cain delivers delicate works that incorporate drawing and incredibly fine cuttings. These two elements appear to present different sides of the spectrum - on the one hand are the prominent and stark drawings, on the other, the delicately cut paper depicting modern, consumer landscapes. This juxtaposition is perfectly played with the result being a quite homogenised balance between the two extremes.    
Penelope Cain, Sale Topshop, 2014. Courtesy of MOP.
In particular Sale Topshop is especially powerful. The cut out makes it appear like the London tube while the intricate drawing is a stunning panorama that oddly does not appear out of place against such a seemingly urbane setting. Perhaps Cain has mapped out the perfect balance between the sublime and the city scape. The sheer detail and simplicity of these works is what makes them truly stand out. They're not contrived or cliched views of the subject which so many fall into. It is evident Cain understands her subject and there is an honesty about the work - it doesn't need to hide behind convoluted justifications - it just is.    
Penelope Cain, Free Quotes! Taxi Training, 2014. Courtesy of MOP.

Penelope Cain, Surface Tension, 2012. Courtesy of MOP.

MOP installation shot.

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