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Gerald Peters Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Penelope Gottlieb. In her paintings, Gottlieb reconsiders John James Audubon’s idyllic representations of natural history and continues to expand her series of vivid, colorful and thought provoking paintings depicting extinct, invasive and endangered plants.
Gottlieb is an Emmy-award winning Motion Picture Title Designer and fine artist. After receiving her BFA from the Art Center College for Design in Pasadena, California, Gottlieb went on to earn her MFA from the University of California in Santa Barbara where she currently lives and works. Gottlieb is a painter who has uprooted the tradition of flower painting formally and thematically. In her Invasive Plants series, she appropriates and significantly alters existing digital prints from the John James Audubon archive. Gottlieb depicts the ravages of a contemporary ecological phenomenon wherein non-native species are introduced and overtake the balance of its delicate ecosystem.
My intention is to draw the viewer into my work with the seduction of beauty. Closer inspection reveals a difficulty in navigating a problematic relationship between flora and fauna. We are only as strong as these birds, these blossoms. We are all part of a fragile system and beauty can be a voice of strength. By appropriating the iconic work of John James Audubon, I have an opportunity to contrast my contemporary feelings of unease and concern regarding the natural world with his 19th century sense of unending abundance.
I was also inspired to include my early interest in Vanitas, the hidden signs and symbols injected into early Dutch and Flemish still life paintings, as an opportunity to layer in references to my research and historical correlations. – Penelope Gottlieb