Alex Pentek – Artist Statement / Biography
Alex Pentek is an Irish artist who has a growing portfolio of national and international work that explores different site specific ideas in a broad range of materials. As well creating large scale site specific work, his gallery based practice explores temporary mediums such as folded paper and sound performance which he has exhibited across Ireland, UK and Australia.
With over 20 large scale permanent works completed in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Canada, long time interests in science, origami and music inform Pentek’s work on both practical and philosophical levels.
“I aim to create openly challenging and engaging work that communicates on an visual, intuitive level by basing the ideas, forms and materials on my reaction to a chosen location. My experience in a growing range of materials allows me to work and think in this way. I am excited by the idea of creating work of such a scale and impact that it connects with the viewer to become a defining public icon, enhancing a sense of place and extending traditionally perceived boundaries between object and landscape.
The unseen processes behind realising any project are also an important part of the work. Using my own set of skills as an artist where possible (such as sketching, 3D computer modelling, sculpting / model making in various materials); I enjoy the challenge of working with new materials on a large scale by drawing on the skills and expertise of architects, engineers, fabricators and contractors to realise a project. Also, often visualising and communicating an idea before it is made through public consultation, communication and people skills become important to the success of a project as well as expertise in the finished material of the work itself”. – Alex Pentek
Extracted from the Spring 2018 edition of the Irish Arts Review. The Irish Arts Review is Ireland’s leading art and design publication. www.irishartsrevi
In 2018, I was invited to participate in Earth Wind & Fire: Made in Cork Contemporary by Crawford Gallery Curator Anne Boddaert, where I created a new work titled Unfolding Space. This was a development of ideas I had begun to explore earlier this year in the RHA inspired by origami surfaces currently being used as a model for spiral galaxy formation and can be seen on the Exhibitions page.
I am excited to be working on a short film about this project with Film maker Paddy Cahill over the coming months.
2018, invited to create and exhibit a new paper installation entitled Folded Space for the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), Ely Place, Dublin. Ran from January until April 2018, alongside exhibitions by Grayson Perry, Elizabeth Magill, Niall de Buitléar and a selection of Irish/American landscapes can be seen. (Please see the link below for a short film of the work by Paddy Cahill and RHA gallery information).
In 2016 Urban Oasis was selected as the winning idea for a series of sculptures at Surfers Paradise, City of Gold Coast, Queensland Australia. The work is now near completion and will be installed early 2018 in time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games being hosted by the City of Gold Coast.
A very short film clip about the project can be seen here:
The following is taken from the announcement of the winning project on http://artsculture.cmail19.com/t/d-l-irlulry-ihdljluui-m/
Urban Oasis: revealed
An Urban Oasis will soon sprout from the ground in the centre of the Gold Coast’s bustling tourist precinct. The winning design for this major public art commission was created by international artist Alex Pentek. Titled Urban Oasis, it comprises four stainless steel ferns, standing eleven metres tall and complemented by a series of ground panels.The artwork is an impression of the shield fern which once grew in abundance at this location. The structures will curl, stretch and appear in various stages of growth as they emerge from the concrete at each corner of the intersection of Surfers Paradise Boulevard and Elkhorn Avenue.This significant public art project, to be installed by April 2017, marks the pivot point between our vibrant nightlife in Surfers Paradise and our city’s cultural heart – the cultural precinct in Evandale. An independent jury selected the winning design from five final entries the jury’s recommendation was endorsed by Council at its meeting on 24 June 2016.“This idea was inspired by the area’s recent history of as one of the most diverse sub‐tropical littoral rainforests in Australia, (which in some cases even grew back after it was cleared). It has been my aim to capture the imagination of the public visiting this urban oasis by depicting the contrastingly delicate impression of Shield Ferns that once grew in abundance here. Showing different stages of growth, their monumental scale together with a series of ground panels symbolise the importance of this heritage and our place within a broader natural order”.– Alex Pentek
I am very grateful for the following coverage of Urban Oasis in Irish Arts Review, Winter edition 2016, kindly written by Editor John Mulcahy.
2015- Awarded and completed Kindred Spirits, a permanent artwork commemorating the 1847 Choctaw Nation’s donation to Ireland during the Great Irish Famine.
Drone footage by Brian Martin, Drone Ireland.
A 3D walk through of the idea can be seen on: https://vimeo.com/82176519
In 2017 Choctaw Chief Garry Batton and a number of his Council members and friends attended the official launch of the sculpture in Midleton, County Cork. They later received official recognition for this act of kindness by President Michael D. Higgins in Dublin, who said that this artwork “speaks out to us across oceans and generations” during his opening speech at the Arts and Culture Garden Party at Áras an Uachtaráin, 2017.
Since being installed, Kindred Spirits continues to receive international attention and media coverage in the U.S., Ireland, and Australia, including RTE News, Nationwide, Fox News and various TV stations in the US and abroad. It has also featured in the Russian Times, on Radio 1 Ryan Tubridy Show and on BBC World Service.
2015- Forget Me Not is a permanent artwork selected by open international competition to remember those buried in the number of large unmarked plots at Belfast City Cemetery. Depicting two large scale bronze forget me not flowers that form an archway with many unopened buds, this commission also symbolises the thousands of unbaptised children laid to rest in unmarked ‘poor ground’ plots nearby, and was officially launched by Councillor Arder Carson, Lord Mayor of Belfast and Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland as part of the Building Peace Through the Arts programme.
2014 – Created a sound-scape with sound artist Mick O’Shea using electronic variables and drums to a live cast iron performance by visiting American Artist / Lecturer Matt Toole which can be viewed on https://vimeo.com/111525966
2014 – Created a series of new paper works for a solo exhibition, Rudolf Heltzel Design, Kilkenny Arts Week, Kilkenny, Ireland.
2014 – Created a 4 m tall folded paper installation Transcending Column for group show Translucent Flag, at MART Gallery, Dublin, in May.
2014 – Completed Hidden Landscape, a large scale landmark sculpture for Longford City, Ireland, (Irish Arts Review, Vol. 31 P.8) .
2014 – Completed large scale perforated bronze origami sculpture for Ashton School, Cork City, Ireland. https://vimeo.com/73732474
2012 – Awarded two large scale public sculpture commissions in counties Longford and Galway, both of which were since completed at the National Sculpture Factory, Cork, Ireland. The same year I also completed ‘Rabbit’, which is a landmark public work for Ashbourne, Co. Meath, Ireland. These can be seen under Portfolio and Studio headings and also: http://papercopia.com/PentekRabbit.html
2011 – Created a series of large-scale permanent works for Burlington city, Ontario, Canada, http://nationalsculpturefactory.com/?page_id=1416
2011 – Created a temporary paper installation The Intimacy of Distance for Gravity, curated by Peter Murray at the Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork.
2010 – Shortlisted to one of two finalists in an international competition for a landmark public sculpture overlooking Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, Australia. Though coming 2nd, this idea gained an under ground following with its own anonymous web site: