Anna Kell: Pentimenti
January 16- March 22
The Downtown Art Gallery, 416 Market Street
Pentimenti is an exhibition of recent artwork by artist and Assistant Professor at Bucknell University, Anna Kell. The title refers to a group of paintings in which Kell has preserved and embellished existing stains and discoloration on found, discarded mattress fabrics. Pentimenti is the plural of pentimento, an Italian word translated literally as “a repentance”. In the study of art history, this word is used specifically to describe evidence that—through time—reveals the artist’s process, otherwise “hidden” by the paint. Pentimenti can reveal mistakes or compositional changes in the work, or they may reveal that some character or object had been “painted out” at some point in the painting process.
Undoubtedly for most people a stain signifies something unpleasant, something one is not supposed to see or acknowledge. Kell is interested in this automatic, negative reaction that people have to something very natural and physical. By re-framing these accidental marks as the main imagery in her work, Kell proposes that these stains can be read as marks that have value and which speak to our connection to nature and history.
In addition to the embellished stain paintings, Kell also has on exhibit a collection of recent graphite drawings, small painted studies, and an installation piece.
– Anna Kell