My current work has evolved from researching ancestors and imagining their traces within our cells, filtering through us over time. The reality of finding information and knowledge about our ancestors is brought sharply into focus when genetic inheritance includes a faulty gene. Hence the construction and development of my ideas about inherited genetic mutation has led to an acknowledgement of an unexpected part of my ancestral heritage.
I have constructed soft sculptural 3D forms of mutating cells, evolving and never-ending. As they transform and alter, they represent the genetic material transferred in organic forms. I have deliberately chosen to use recycled materials and found objects that have been pre-loved and pre-used, the legacy of past lives. I have embedded or situated my creations in other inherited solid objects, 'heirlooms', imagined items passed down from generation to generation.
These five fob watches represent the now known five generations that have inherited the faulty gene. Unaware through time, the emerging cellular shapes represent the hidden and insidious gene mutation, silently destructive. The fob watch normally closed and secreted within a pocket is now open and unable to be closed since the gene mutation has been revealed.
Penelope Campbell was born in 1948 and graduated from Monash University, Victoria in 2013 with a Master of Visual Arts. She also holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) from the University of Deakin, Victoria.
Penelope's work is "always part of a constant process of exploration into the many aspects of personal identity and the anxiety of the human condition... To understand our part in the 'bigger picture', I have always considered the way to 'find oneself' or understand 'why we are who we are' is to work back through history."
recycled doilies, fabrics, laces, embroideries, hand stitching, polyfibre filling, replica fobwatches, lead weights, glue
7 x 20 x 20 cm
Judges of the 2015 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize: Dr Michael Brand (Director of the Art Gallery of NSW), Penelope Seidler AM (Arts Patron and Director of Harry Seidler & Associates) and Barbara Flynn (International Curatorial Advisor).