Penny Truitt


About the Artist

Penny Truitt: Confluence Series

A ceramic sculptor for the majority of her career, Truitt started working in steel a few years ago to challenge herself with a new material and methods, seeing where her forms and surfaces would go in the new medium. Inspiration came when she realized working in steel was taking her sculpture in a new direction, seeking to redefine her relationship with form and force a shift in perception.
Confluence, crosscurrents, and slippage are words used in her titles and the pieces “work” through shifting relationships, and push and pull between the sculptural elements. All of the works consist of two primary shapes which relate to each other with form and proportion, balance and continuity. Truitt explains she’s striving to, “further explore the possible arrangement of components and look for various orientations that reveal the unexpected – redefining the relationship and shifting of perception.”
After years perfecting glazing techniques with the Raku firings of her ceramic work, the surface and finish of steel posed another challenge. Through extensive experimentation with chemical patinas and the reactions that occur when adding natural elements, the surfaces of Truitt’s sculpture are exquisite. Gunmetal matte black, textured iron oxides, and painted color highlights work in harmony to create the strong form and beautiful surface which makes up this exquisite new body of work by Penny Truitt.

Penny Truitt: Intersect Series

Intersect brings together her mastery of ceramic sculpture with her newly inspired work with welded steel. In this artwork the two materials function in unison, building an abstract narrative about walls, boundaries, and architecture. Truitt explains, “I think there’s a dichotomy between natural formations and manmade formations. So I moved from creating abstract landscapes with clay, to more architectural pieces that reference remnants of manmade structures with metal – particularly walls. Since I live adjacent to the US/Mexico border my attention has been drawn to the futility of the walls that are being constructed – and the futility of the position the government holds. For me, somehow this is a juxtaposition to put in place and work through in my sculpture.”

Also of importance to Truitt are the use of line and texture with both materials. The fluidity of ceramics lends itself to soft flowing lines, while the sharp angularity and cuts off steel form an opposing line. Both work together to reveal the conceptual content and physical form of the pieces.

Beginning in 2010, Truitt presented work addressing the issue of boundaries, encompassing Border walls, obstructions and impositions. Six years later, this theme prevails. Current work combining clay and steel, expands on these concerns. Truitt explains, "Clay, when fired, is impermeable to time and the elements. Steel, by its nature, gradually disintegrates, leaving only a trace. Paradoxically, we create both a temporary and lasting record on the landscape and in our collective memory."
Confluence I
Crosscurrents I
Confluence II
Edge III
Slippage VI
Confluence III