Penny Gorman - Architectural Folk Artist
"The material is my inspiration, it has such character. One can easily imagine the history behind each piece and by incorporating it into my artwork means that I'm a part of its continuing story."
This creative young woman's own words deeply and eloquently convey the very core of her feelings and vision in creating her unique art. As I first looked upon a wall of her salvaged and reclaimed works of art... they do, in fact seem at first glance to follow a tradition which would classify them as "folk" art. Perhaps, it is merely the fact that the antique, weathered patina of the materials themselves elicit a folksy connection. But as one looks past the surface of the work... one begins to perceive a deeper intrinsic quality which melds together whimsy and a highly selective and informed use of materials... and in an unexpected fashion. It is this fusion of Penny's respect for the past with her always present... but capricious sense of humour which separates and carries her works beyond the usual naivety and often awkward constructs evident in the world of pure folk art.
The success that Penny currently is experiencing in her world of whimsy can be directly attributed to the mentorship she has enjoyed over the past twelve years at The Balleycanoe and Co. where she was guided by an equally talented artist and respected architectural salvage business owner, John Sorensen. He and his lovely wife Molly have offered Penny their home, workshop and friendship over these critical years of transition from student life in high school and later in the Early Childhood Diploma Programme at St Lawrence College in Brockville.
John's impeccable knowledge of architecture and lengthy career dealing in antique furniture... plus his energy...passion and support of the Arts offered a perfect vessel for Penny to gain knowledge regarding form and function as it applies to architectural structure and detail. Her innate sense of design and joyous joie-de-vivre provided everything else that was necessary to transcribe these necessary and learned ingredients. These elements are essential for artistic growth and development in any genre of art making. Given this push-start artistically... Penny has created her very own eclectic world of wonder and whimsy. And judging by her sales success(es) at The Eagle Point event just passed in November... a great many other people also admire her work greatly!
I chose to profile Penny and her work... not based totally upon the obviously high quality of her oeuvre... but more because "She"... as an artist demonstrates all of the qualities which I admire... and expect from family, friends and artist peers. Those qualities... with humility coming at the head of the list, also include integrity, consistency, flexibility of thought, tolerance and a work ethic which fuses all of the other attributes into a pursuit which pushes well beyond a state of mere avocation. Simply put... Penny... like her mentor doesn't simply wish things could happen. She... as regularly as an antique clock... makes things happen!
In closing... since pictures are indeed worth a thousand words... I'll offer these few examples of her wonderfully whimsical Gormanesque world of wooden things! Enjoy other samples by visiting Penny's web site at www.pennygorman.com or if you are further interested... John Sorensen's web site is found at www.balleycanoeco.com
"American Gothic... Recycled"... I think that this would cause Grant Wood to smile!
Good Painting to ALL!