The place of my work is the garden, a space in which nature and human design negotiate a mutual existence along an indistinct boundary. Within the garden environment is the potential for memory and expectation as well as idealization and reality. I come from a family of builders and growers, and have worked with the land my entire life. I grew up in rural Maryland. The insular quality of farm life honed my curiosity for what was foreign, which at that time was almost everything, and I became an avid reader early on, thus beginning a life-long love of books. Though my education was modest and standard, my mother, who is a painter, instilled in me a spirit for excellence and a passion for the arts. She helped me to understand that Nature can be a dramatic and constant companion, as well as a thorough teacher.
My formal training in the fine arts began in painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art, but it wasn't until I moved to El Paso in 1979 that I discovered how to work with metal, the medium that I work with to this day. My education took me to New Mexico, New York and finally, to Barcelona, Spain on a Fulbright scholarship in 1989. For the past fifteen years I have been a professor at Texas State University.
Beverly Penn's work is included in the permanent collections of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art in New York; the Austin Museum of Art and the El Paso Museum of Art, Texas; and the Wustum Museum of Fine Arts, Wisconsin. She has also received numerous grants and awards, including a Rockefeller Foundation residency in Bellagio, Italy (2000); a Connemara Conservancy Artist Grant (1995); a Fulbright-Hays Research Grant to Spain (1989-1990); funding from the Texas Commission on the Arts (1984 and 1996); and seven faculty research grants to Mexico, Italy, Spain and New York (1990-2004).
Penn has been commissioned for many public art projects and is lead artist for the upcoming Spiral Garden
at Austin's Town Lake Park. Her work has been reviewed nationally in publications such as Sculpture Magazine, The New Art Examiner, ArtPapers, Circa, ArtLies
, and The New Orleans Art Review
Statement courtesy of Beverly Penn
Artist-in-Residence, Rockefeller Foundation Study and Conference Center at Bellagio, Bellagio, Italy (2000)
Artist Grant, Connemara Conservancy Foundation, Dallas, TX, USA (1995)
Fulbright Scholarship, Fulbright Program, Institute of International Education, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, USA (1989-1990)
The Book as Art: Twenty Years of Artists' Books from the National Museum of Women in the Arts