Pennylane Shen holds a Master’s Degree in Visual Culture Theory from New York University and a Bachelor of arts’ Degree in Art and Art History from the University of Toronto. In the still under-developed field of Visual Culture, she has lectured at various forums in New York, New York; London, England; Toronto, Ontario; Chicago, Illinois; and Seoul, South Korea. Pennylane’s research interests and publications discuss the politics of representation, gender and identity in popular culture, film and fine art.
In Vancouver, Pennylane manages the figurative artists’ collective Phantoms in the Front Yard, showcasing the work of six prominent Vancouver artists at various pop-up locations. Founded by Pennylane in 2009, the group has garnered critical attention and wide-spread support with its bi-annual exhibitions and established guest artists.
Pennylane is currently an associate of Bau-Xi Gallery, with two locations in Toronto, one in Vancouver and one in Seattle. The gallery celebrates its 50th year in 2015, making it one of the oldest and most reputable commercial galleries in Canada. In the past 12 years, she has worked for Elliott Louis Gallery, Jacana Gallery and Jennifer Kostuik.
At Langara College, Pennylane is responsible for creating and currently instructing the courses: Marketing for the Fine Artist and The Photographic Concept, both found in the Photography Department.
Pennylane offers one-on-one artist consultations through her own company, Dazed and Confucius Consulting, assisting and advising emerging artists on how to achieve their career goals in the fine art industry. For more details, please visit the Artist Consultations page.
Image above taken by Kailey Fuller-Jackson
Pennylane offers individualized consultations that consist of a review of your work, an initial critique and discussion, suggestions, guidance and setting goals for a particular direction. Consultations vary in topics, including breaking into the gallery industry, improving or fine-tuning your current body of work or applying to a residency, school or competition.
2015 rates are $85 per introductory session. There is an additional $10 travel cost for meetings taking place outside of the lower mainland. Payment is required at the beginning of the session. If the work requires further critique, artists are encouraged to schedule another session in 2-3 months’ time. Consultations typically occur on Thursday and Friday afternoons, each session is approximately 90 minutes long and held at the artist’s studio or location of choice.
One week before your session, please send Pennylane any questions regarding your work and/or the art industry. Submit a brief outline of the goals you are hoping to reach through your work in the short and long term. As well, please include an example of your work (jpeg format or link to your website) and any particular artists you admire or are influenced by.
Navigating the Art Industry: Professional Practices for Emerging Artists is a unique 3-hour seminar designed specifically for emerging artists preparing to approach the commercial and public art industry. It is ideal for fine artists of any media pursuing careers in the commercial Vancouver art market or those looking to expand their exhibition repertoire.
Presenter Pennylane Shen has taught full courses in Vancouver, New York and Toronto. Navigating the Art Industry is a condensed introductory session, combining theory, industry experience and practical resources for the emerging artist. She currently works at the Bau-Xi Gallery and teaches “Marketing for Fine Artists” at Langara College. In the nonprofit sector, Pennylane manages the figurative artists collective Phantoms in the Front Yard and is on the art selection committee for the annual Art for Life art auction.
Founded in 2009, Phantoms in the Front Yard (PITFY) is a Vancouver-based figurative artist collective focused on elevating the human figure’s role as muse in the Canadian contemporary art scene.
The name captures the essence of the group’s purpose: to address the fact that Modernist and Postmodern schools of thought virtually ignore the importance of figurative work, effectively banishing it to the “back yard”. With each exhibition, the Phantoms hope to bring figurative work back to the front yard of contemporary art.
With a goal of creating art for all, not just academics and industry veterans, the PITFY collective opens its doors to members from a broad range of career stages. This diversity provides a variety of perspectives and an exciting opportunity for each member. Emerging artists gain insight from experience, and established ones are invigorated with new ideas. Every PITFY exhibition features work by collective members and one invited guest who has the potential to join the collective full-time. This model adds a truly dynamic element to group relations, with every participant assigned specific duties to help make the show a success. PITFY exhibition structure enhances this exciting mix even further, with biannual shows in alternative venues independent of any gallery or institutional setting. This format allows complete freedom to determine which work will be shown and how – a truly unique feature of the PITFY collective.
Contrary to group shows curated to reflect a unifying theme, PITFY exhibitions are unified in the artistic process itself. Group members take turns choosing each show’s theme, which other members are free to interpret in their own manner. Subject matter is developed collaboratively in group meetings, resulting in work that is often outside of, and sometimes even contrary to, each member’s normal subject matter and process. This inspires experimentation and new possibilities, often resulting in work that is very diverse in nature, yet unified on a common theme.
Current collective members:
Pennylane Shen (curator and director) – www.thedazedandconfucius.com
Jay Senetchko – www.senetchko.ca
Michael Abraham – www.michaelabraham.com
Paul Morstad – www.paulmorstad.com
Bruce Pashak – www.brucepashak.com
Jonathan Sutton – www.jonathansutton.net
Jeremiah Birnbaum – www.birnbaumjeremiah.ca
Caroline Weaver – www.caroline-weaver.ca
Pennylane has been actively involved in the not-for-profit art and charity sector for the past decade. After happily participating as a member of Art for Life committee for several years, she made the move to join the Vancouver General Hospital UBC hospital foundation in 2012.
Deeply passionate about art as a means of giving and healing, Pennylane strongly advocates for bringing artwork beyond the walls of the gallery or home. Through tours given regularly to patients and staff, she has seen firsthand the positive response to artwork in the hospital. By creating an atmosphere of hope, contemplation, cognitive stimulation and discussion for patients, visitors and staff, the hospital experience is drastically improved, as is the process of recovery.
Since its impetus in 2000, the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation has more than 1400 curated pieces by incredibly notable artists grace the walls of our hospitals, making it one of the largest and most recognized collections in Canada.
Whether you are an artist or collector, consider submitting a piece of art in consideration for donation to our hospitals. There are still many bare walls in lonely spaces that could benefit greatly from it.
Also read about the IDEA Art Award – An Emily Carr Partnership