Penelope Davis | Sea-change

6 April – 6 May 2017

Penelope Davis’ Sea-change is a new body of sculptural work that evokes the precarious beauty of the ocean environment and human impact upon it.


Davis uses jellyfish as a motif to examine consumption, environmental degradation and other critical issues associated with global warming. Many scientists already warn that jellyfish may soon be the only living animal in the seas due to global warming. The works reflect on, and embody, our symbiotic relationship with the natural world and its perilous future.


The works are silicone moulds cast from a range of objects – discarded industrial devices, electrical equipment, mass produced plastic items, organic vegetation and other sources. The artist hand sews these fragments together to create Frankenstein-like amalgams –plausible but mutant jellyfish.


Displayed as an installation suspended from the ceiling, the works form a swarm, or smack, of jellyfish. Selected individual works are lit from within using programmed LED lighting to animate the installation. These subtle lighting effects create an immersive installation that recalls the uncanny, dream-like space of the ocean depths.


The work’s delicate beauty but alarming hybridity invites viewers into a enveloping, contemplative space to reflect on their own relationship with the ocean environment, to the natural world and the issues of future climate change. The work poetically evokes the symbiosis between the human and natural worlds suggesting a future evolution that is both monstrous and beautiful.


Part of CLIMARTE’s ART + CLIMATE = CHANGE 2017 – a festival of exhibitions and events harnessing the creative power of the Arts to inform, engage and inspire action on climate change. www.artclimatechange.org


This work was developed in the Creative Spaces LAB-14 studio supported by the City of Melbourne.


Lighting by John Ford at Relume Consulting.



CLIMARTE colour+






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