Penelope Umbrico

Out of Place

March 28 - May 4, 2002

We are pleased to announce our third solo exhibition of new work by Penelope Umbrico entitled "Out of Place". A catalogue has been published in conjunction with the show with an essay by Sheryl Conkelton and the support of the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Since Umbrico began publicly exhibiting in 1991, she has been known for her colorful abstract photographs. In her 1998 solo show entitled From Catalogues” she created an enormous gridded installation of individual items being offered through mail order - from jewelry to dishes - blurred in the exposure to obscure the identity of the object. Umbrico has continued to work with catalogues, but now she has extracted from scenes of interiors the mirrors and views through partially open doors. The reflections and views are idealized in the catalogues and present a set of images which are intended to lure and seduce (with the exception of the least expensive catalogues which often present a hazy gray reflection, according to Umbrico.)

Umbrico has observed how the mirrors contain the space behind you, yet you are omitted from the reflection, and are invisible. They include you in the sceneÙYou become the object. None of the objects which appear reflected in the mirrors are being offered for sale- they are part of the seduction.” Umbrico has enlarged the mirrors and views to the size and shape they are described in the catalogues- and they are presented as objects. It is both a thing and a complete illusion, complete with enlarged ben day dots of cheaply reproduced material. The doorway views are tall and slim- like a Barnett Newman zip. They almost always present an idyllic suburban country landscape often with a small private space in the foreground. Umbrico is not unique in drawing our attention to the seductive strategies of advertising, but she manages to create amusing, beautiful and mysterious objects which at the same time critique the vacuous desires of consumers.

Umbrico has had solo exhibitions at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and the International Center of Photography, and her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

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