Penelope Umbrico: PhotographsPhotographs by Penelope Umbrico
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Penelope Umbrico (photographs) offers a radical reinterpretation of everyday consumer and vernacular images. Umbrico works “within the virtual world of consumer marketing and social media, traveling through the relentless flow of seductive images, objects, and information that surrounds us, searching for decisive moments—but in these worlds, decisive moments are cultural absurdities.”
She finds these moments in the pages of consumer product mail-order catalogs, travel and leisure brochures; and websites like Craigslist, EBay, and Flickr. Identifying image typologies—candy-colored horizons and sunsets, books used as props—brings the farcical, surreal nature of consumerism to new light.
Penelope Umbrico (photographs) presents a unique approach to quintessential issues of representation in contemporary culture, including how images are used to construct and communicate consumer desire, and whether or not the growing volume of images we view online fosters a critical visual literacy. This volume, Umbrico’s first monograph, is accompanied by a series of essays, appendices of source material, excerpts from theoretical works, and other material serving as resources for engaging further with the work and issues involved.
Penelope Umbrico (born in Philadelphia, 1957) graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, and received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York. She has participated extensively in solo and group exhibitions, including at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York. Umbrico is core faculty in the School of Visual Arts MFA Photography, Video, and Related Media Program. She lives in New York City.