Penny Truitt: “Intended Consequences”

Santa Fe, NM– Chiaroscuro is pleased to present, Intended Consequences, the latest body of work by Santa Fe based sculptor Penny Truitt, on view from July 3 – August 1, 2020. Intended Consequences consists of a dozen pieces which set three-dimensional ideas into motion employing two forms on each piece, one of clay, the other steel. Thinking about the cardinal compass points of North, South, East and West, Truitt makes hand-built clay forms as a representation of the landscape, which are disrupted by steel forms which break through the clay. The analogy implies steel as the man-made interruption or barrier imposed on the clay. She explains. “Building a barrier wall has both political and environmental consequences that remain long after the wall disintegrates.” While she doesn’t intend for the artwork to appear political in nature, she is thinking about these analogies within her forms.

A ceramic sculptor for the majority of her career, Truitt started working in steel five years ago to challenge herself with a new material and methods. The different properties of clay and steel further inspire the artist to take full advantage of their inherent qualities. Truitt thinks of the fired clay forms as permanent, and the steel elements in a constant state of decay and change, through rust and oxidation. After mastering the ancient technique of Raku firing years ago, Truitt’s ceramic forms come together with elaborate surface texture, beautifully modeled color glazes and strong architectural formal elements. In this body of work, the fired clay sculpture functions as a place of departure, and the steel elements are added to it, setting up the visual tension-and-release. For Truitt, this dance between materials and forms is what brings these pieces to life.

Penny Truitt has enjoyed a long career as a self-taught artist. Graduating from Boston University with a BA in Classical Archaeology, her studies have informed her world view and artistic endeavors. Truitt is an active member of Potters for Peace, a US-based, non-profit, social justice organization that works in two clay-related fields: working with subsistence potters in Nicaragua, and working throughout the world to assist with the establishment of factories that produce ceramic water filters. Since 2002, Truitt has traveled to Nicaragua annually to help support small rural community cooperatives, selecting pots to export to Santa Fe and ultimately bring to market, sending the monies back to these communities in need. This is Truitt’s third solo exhibition at Chiaroscuro.

Caption: Details of the ceramic and steel surfaces of Truitt’s sculptures