A fabulous foundry visit with Robyn Penn

Blogger: Jessie Cohen


This week, we caught up with Robyn Penn at the Workhorse Bronze Foundry to see how her intriguing sculpture of a carbon cloud is coming along.

Robyn Penn discusses her sculpture with Louis Olivier (sculptor and founder of the foundry).
Robyn Penn discusses her sculpture with Louis Olivier (sculptor and founder of the foundry) who can be seen holding the bronze cloud while Penn adjusts the delicate wooden stand.

Penn is exhibiting at DKP Parkwood later this month. Her latest body of work reflects on the controversial topic of climate change denial, featuring paintings, prints and this sculpture, which will be editioned. Penn’s multimedia depictions of alluringly beautiful but diseased-looking clouds can be interpreted as commentary on our callous treatment of the earth in terms of the dangerous levels of carbon emissions worldwide – “like a mere science experiment without consequences” (Penn).

Penn describes the sculpture as “somewhere between a lump of charcoal and a cloud”. This bronze structure was initially sculpted from clay and cauliflower. It is black like carbon but with the details of an intricate cloud formation:

Penn’s sculpture is an ominous, yet paradoxically beautiful, warning symbol with regards to global carbon emissions.

The bronze cloud will be fixed to a piece of beautiful, old wooden lab equipment, conventionally used to hold a pipette and a bunsen burner. Why? “Because, on a conceptual level, my work is inviting discussion about man’s short-sighted perception that we can control nature and flippantly conduct ourselves on this planet without thought to the consequences of our actions”, Penn explains. She reiterates that the initial use of the wooden stand for science experiments taps into this problematic global ethos that we can play with nature without cost.

Penn and Olivier position the cloud on the wooden stand so as to give the metaphorical appearance of a precariously balanced natural object.

Check out our previous blog posts which delve into Penn’s painting and printmaking practice in the lead up to her exhibition with DKP Parkwood later this month: