Penny Davenport

Born 1979 in Inverness, UK

Lives and works in Liverpool, UK

Born in Inverness in 1979, Liverpool based artist Penny Davenport earned her BFA at Liverpool John Moores University in 2002. Davenport's depictions of anthropomorphic animal characters and daydreamed landscapes explore the psychological nuances of bodily experience and complexities of inter-personal relationships. The figures that appear in Davenport’s compositions are decidedly non-human, yet perform human traits: they stand on two feet, they often cluster together holding hands, and they gaze out at the viewer with eyes that suggest feelings of empathy and understanding. They sport furry snouts, feathers and other characteristics that mark these silent gentle beings out as recognizably different to human animals. However, they also encourage a projection of conscious agency and an uncanny recognition of selfhood in their display of gestures and facial expressions, indicative of an inner life just like our own. Deliberately emphasizing the ambiguity of non-verbal communication, Davenport’s images are filled with displays of enigmatic body language that often conjure dissonant but co-existent emotional cues. Whilst there is an interest in a certain kind of friendly intimacy or cartoon immediacy that underpins much of Davenport’s visual vocabulary, the work is also guided by another set of impulses that speak towards a more tragic position of experience and maturity. In many of Davenport’s images, the artist infuses a potent sense of repression, restraint, discomfort or loneliness into her work, in a way that subverts the impression of 'cuteness' that is often readable at first glance. Appearing like half-remembered images from childhood, or individual frames from an incomplete narrative, Penny Davenport’s works speak to the secret lives of human minds, in all their turmoil, elation and distinctive vulnerability.

Exhibitions

The Looks of a Look That’s Looking

Oct 15 - Nov 19, 2022

Works on Paper on Fridges

Aug 12 - Sept 6, 2022

Education

2002
Bachelor of Fine Arts
Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK

Solo And Two Person

2022
(Upcoming)
OTP Copenhagen, Denmark
(Upcoming)
Harkawik, New York, NY
2021
Murmurings
OTP Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
2019
Silent Ancestors
Fortnight Institute, New York, NY
The Secret Things (with Jason Thompson)
BDDW Gallery, New York, NY

Group

2022
Works on Paper
Harkawik, New York, NY
(Upcoming)
Everyday Mooonday, Seoul, Korea
2021
Andante Remix
Linseed Projects, Shanghai, China
Postcards
Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm, Sweden
2020
Winter Solstice: Art, Books and Ephemera
Fortnight Institute, New York, NY
Antonym
Wilson Stephens & Jones, London, UK
Within The Distsance
Johansson Projects, Oakland, CA
2019
FOUR
Wilson Stephens & Jones, London, UK
2018
Truth and Fantasy
Craven Museum, Skipton, UK

Publishing

2020
Shared Worlds
Nieves, Zurich, Switzerland
Silent Ancestors
Innen, Zurich, Switzerland

Press