Olive Penna

1. and still my vessel weeps

Scanned collage, film photography, flowers

44 in x 31 in

2019

2. Untitled [Grass] Scanned collage, digital photography, faux grass 5.5 in x 7 in

2020

3. Untitled [Film] Scanned collage, 35mm film

36 in x 15 in

2019

4. First of the Roll [Legs]

Etched glass, film photography

5 in x 7 in

2020

5. First of the Roll [Legs]

Detail

6. First of the Roll [Portrait]

Etched glass, film photography

5 in x 7 in

2020

7. First of the Roll [Portrait]

Detail

8. Nuance 1-8

Blown glass, powder printing, fused, plate hangers

32 in x 21 in2

020

9. Nuance 3

Detail

10. Nuance 2

Detail

What Does it Mean to be Seen?

 

My work is primarily based on identity and my experience of the world. I’ve always been fascinated by how the circumstances someone is born into can shape their actions and opinions; how some perspectives can’t be fully understood without lived experience. For most of my life, I’ve struggled to decipher and accept my transgender identity. Examining my own identity made me hyper-aware of how people treat me based on their perception of my gender. My imagery stems from these moments.

 

I use a combination of photography, scanned collage, and glass to create and distort images. By collaging images with elements of nature, like hydrangeas and grass, I aim to reveal aspects of femininity and growth within myself. I am interested in many physical forms of glass such as blown, fused, and etched and the qualities each of them possess. While printing images onto glass I use water to degrade the imagery, giving complete control of the outcome to the material itself. I also choose to highlight the physical remnants of the film development process such as light exposure and faulty developing. By intentionally including what most would consider ‘errors’, I subvert the role process and material play in contemporary art. Queering traditional processes is integral to my practice because my work is about transforming conventional perceptions of gender and identity.