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Carola Penn: Fragments

June 18, 2021 - July 21, 2021

Shadows of figures shuffle about, some curved and stately like a bust, others ghostly, ambiguous—all against the echoes of buildings, bridges, cemeteries, dead grass.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters is pleased to announce the late Carola Penn as a recipient of its
Artist Fellowship program. The award honors Penn’s vibrant work and will go towards archiving
her prolific oeuvre and preserving her legacy. Paintings selected from her two series,
Compartments and Interiors/Exteriors are on view at the Downtown cafe through July 21,2021.

June 18
Stumptown Cafe
128 SW 3rd Avenue
*masks required

Fragments provides a rich perspective of Carola’s foundational work, mostly painted shortly after graduating from PNCA in 1987. While some of the paintings may be 30 years old, the subject matter remains gripping and relevant, especially after the past year. N. Mississippi Avenue is a sparse and haunting view of the street pre-gentrification but seen through a post-pandemic lens, the empty streets and urban alienation creeps into the fore. An awkward, faceless embrace feels too familiar these days in Falling City (1988). In line with Penn’s lifelong commitment to social justice, Sunflowers (1990) mimics and de-colonizes Gauguin’s gaze.

Penn’s use of collage and irregular shapes records psychological, physical, and political disparities found in urban settings. These seemingly incomplete or fragmented pieces—some shown here for the first time—were also a way for Penn to break free of the square canvas frame. Inhabited by myths, dreams, and references to the work of other painters, this body of work illustrates Penn’s radical contribution to Portland’s visual arts ecology of the past four decades.


June 18, 2021
July 21, 2021
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Wheelchair accessible
Women artist(s)
Event Type
Visual Art
Pandemic Info


Stumptown cafe
128 SW 3rd Avenue
Portland, OR 97204 United States
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