Despite the hustle and bustle of our everyday experiences, each of us occupies a private universe within, and it is often the only place of silence and tranquility in a modern world that moves at 1000 mph.
Acutely observed and skillfully painted, the most recent series of pictures by artist Marta Penter (b.1957) seeks to capture the essence of this interior world. Opened on April 7 at San Francisco’s Caldwell Snyder Gallery, “Among Silence” showcases Penter’s outstanding achievements. Drawing from her own background in psychology, Penter was inspired to explore this theme during a recent trip abroad to London, Paris, and Berlin, where she “photographed the multitudes in the streets, intuitively seeking out moments of silence” the gallery reports. “What do I shoot?” Penter recalls feeling. “Silence yourself. Or, in other words, in the midst of all the turmoil lies silence. That is what I encounter, that is what I photograph, that is what I paint. Because people may be there, all of them occupying the same place, but each one of them is within his or her own private and silent universe.”

Marta Penter, “Girl with Blue Beach Chair,” oil on canvas, 47 x 47 in. (c) Caldwell Snyder Gallery 2016

Marta Penter, “Two Girls in Vienna,” oil on paper, 43 x 60 in. (c) Caldwell Snyder Gallery 2016

Marta Penter, “The Cornershop,” oil on canvas, 71 x 47 in. (c) Caldwell Snyder Gallery 2016

Characteristic of Penter’s work, the exhibition features large-scale canvases with a monochrome palette. However, more recently the artist has begun to include concentrated areas of sapphire blue, which give the paintings a dream-like and surrealist tone. The artistic choice blends beautifully with Penter’s conceptual goals. Her style and subjects work in concert to “meticulously catalogue the countless social cues of dress, hairstyle, posture, and facial expression that allow us to negotiate the realm of others while carving out space for our own experience” the gallery continues. “As she works, Penter identifies so closely with her subjects as to become one with them: ‘Whenever I represent a knitted blouse, it feels as if the brushes are the knitting needles themselves; it is as if I am knitting, stitch by stitch, such fabric.’ Explaining her preference for large-scale canvases, she cites her desire to “fully immerse the viewer in each painting — to not only depict intimacy in a literal sense, but to repcreate its energy.”
“Among Silence” opened on April 7 and will hang through April 30. To learn more, visit Caldwell Snyder Gallery.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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