Evan Penny - Commentary


Stretch, Skew and Anamorph

2003 to present

The terms stretch and skew refer to Photoshop image manipulation techniques. Anamorph refers to an optical process commonly associated with the camera’s single lens or point of view, where horizontal and vertical axis diverge (expand and stretch) asymmetrically (no parallel lines), and which can be seen in correct (undistorted) perspective only from one particular point of view.

Like the L. Faux work before it, the Stretch, Skew and Anamorph pieces take their cue from the question: “What would happen if I take a distortion of the human body that is ‘normalized’ in an image context, that we might assume belongs exclusively to the image world, and bring that into the space we physically occupy?”

Not obvious when viewing the sculptures alone, but crucial to the idea, is that they do not evolve from a pre-existing source photograph of an individual that has been manipulated in Photoshop. They are fictitious characters that evolve through the sculpting process in a stretched state. Nor are they fanciful or exaggerated caricatures. The sculpture is resolved as a successful character if and when a photograph can be taken of it, compressed in Photoshop, and produce an image of a plausible realistically proportioned individual. In other words, the assumed relationship between realistic source photograph and manipulated sculpture is inverted. The realistic photograph (comes after and) is distorted. The stretched sculpture (comes first and) is not.

(There are some exceptions: Homage to Chuck’s ‘Phil’, Self Portrait and Female Stretch (2009) derive from a pre-existing source images.)

Accompanying (same scale) photographs have been produced in conjunction with (some of) these sculptures in order to highlight the idea.

Evan Penny, 2011