Victor John Penner
Victor John Penner’s photographs of urban and suburban spaces, all marked by human interaction, create a sense of unease. Past series documented abandoned grow-op houses and empty gymnasiums. Penner's new series of works, District* (based on a true story), creates a mise-en-scène of West Vancouver, offering a counter-narrative to landscape/nature based art through photographs of seemingly discordant scenes.Through the new series, Penner reflects on formative aspects of how his early influences have informed his practice.
It’s Not a Pretty Picture
Victor John Penner is an outsider, a first generation Canadian born into a Mennonite family (Vancouver BC, 1958) whose ethos was “in the world, but not of the world”. This upbringing gave Penner the unique perspective of an observer or witness. Although a high school dropout, a fortuitous encounter in 1979 with Andy Warhol and Paloma Picasso in N.Y.C. inspired Penner to pursue a life devoted to art and design. By 1983 he was living and established as a graphic designer in Tokyo, Japan. Among various other projects, he created applied designs for David Bowie costume designer Kansai Yamamoto and portrait commissions for Christian Dior Japon.
While printmaking (silkscreen), filmmaking, and graphic/object design are all part of Penner’s oeuvre, since 1992 he has concentrated almost exclusively on the photographic image. His intuitive street style and immediate approach has led to his work being used by many Fortune 500 companies and also to be recognized by Applied Arts, Communication Arts, Graphis, PDN, Photo Media and PRINT periodicals. The Jones Soda brand Penner created has been exhibited at the Ansel Adams Center for Photography in San Francisco and the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York.
Recent exhibitions include DISTRICT* (2017, WV Museum), Artist’s Depiction (2015, Gordon Smith Gallery, permanent collection), SD/45 (2014, WV Museum, group show) and Not Safe to Occupy (2014, Gordon Smith Gallery, and 2013, Gallery 295)
Victor John Penner currently lives and works in North Vancouver.