Penny Rafferty

My work is an exploration of low-fi mixed media materials, re-appropriated from the everyday living environment taking the form of Sculpture, Installation and Performance.

I find the familiarity of commonplace objects engages the viewer and grounds the work in our shared experience. While the banality of these objects offers a base note of simplicity and directness, the process of manipulation raises increasingly complex questions and competing understandings.

My work creates dialogue and presents an alternative mode of communication that revolves around debate and argument as opposed to definite answers. Most of my pieces are framed at the core of a multitude of theories, ideas and philosophies that can both confirm and conflict with each other. These define the work, and are gathered in a long and involved development process.

We take most objects for granted in the contemporary western world. Even while we are surrounded by huge amounts of mass produce, we have no temperament for understanding the physicality inherent in each bar of soap or glass bottle.

Even in Today’s Western Civilian Population, wars are fought through televisions and the internet. Everything has its place, and is controlled and filtered through practiced channels.

Sculpture meanwhile is not decorative enough for the living room, yet it’s still too academic for popular culture – it’s an open arena of debate.

A large proportion of my work engages with social and political issues.

Some of the latest pieces explored were homemade guerrilla warfare paraphernalia – which was illegally sourced in Germany, a Conceptual Fashion Line called PUNK IS DADA. Other work has seen detritus from the streets of the former West Berlin being insulated in pigs fat, or a series of homemade banners that quote 20th Century manifestos entitled Sheet Paintings, or found internet footage made into short films that deal with the riots of 2011 and the pornographic industry.

Most of these themes stem from an interest in political and art theory. I am fascinated by dynamics of compulsion, illusion and force, in relation to the way a personality or social group can be condemned or idolized by society.

Titles play an essential role in the creation of the work as well being key for the viewing process: giving the audience a map to the dialogue or debate from which the piece was born.

In the words of Situationists International “ We must build the hacienda”