Gabriella Imperatori-Penn | Painting with the Light of Her Lens

Gabriella Imperatori-Penn | Painting with the Light of Her Lens
Dates: 23 November 2021-10 December 2021; opening reception with the artist on November 23 @ 6-8 PM
Space Gallery New York; 428 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013


Space Gallery New York is proud to present a comprehensive solo exhibition of photography by Swiss artist Gabriella Imperatori-Penn consisting of thirty pieces including new works from her Still Life and Sepia collections as well as works from her popular Flowers, Moonscapes, Stones and Extinct collections.

Imperatori-Penn’s ability to bring quiet focus to the essence of her subject is her artistic signature. The artist’s atmospheric use of light harkens back to the chiaroscuro of the Old Masters instilling each piece with a sense of visual harmony. The artist explains: “As I desired to be a painter all my life. [Photography] is my way to paint with light.” Deceivingly simple, the artist’s images create a sanctuary space wherein her viewer can contemplate the essentials elements of composition: line, color, and form.

The passing of time and the fragility of life are concerns that the artist revisits time and time again. She explores these themes indirectly through her Landscapes collection, which capture the strength and longevity of the rocks that will survive long beyond our life span. She explores this theme again in her Extinct collection, which contemplates the truth that what is here now will not necessarily exist in time, and in again in the Moonscapes collection, where she documents the waxing and waning of the moon.

Born in Switzerland, Imperatori-Penn found her passion for photography at the age of fifteen, photographing the expansive landscapes around her native home of Zurich and taking portraits of her close friends. After graduating, she chose to follow her dream to become a photographer. Imperatori-Penn then started working with the acclaimed Swiss photographer Raymond Meier, her mentor, with whom she continued to expand her knowledge and craftsmanship of both photography and printmaking before moving to New York City in 1986. She opened her first studio in Soho in 1988. Her very admired mentor,

Irving Penn, with whom she spent lots of time discussing photography, has been a great influence on her work. Discussing her mentor, Imperatori-Penn explains: “Irving Penn was always a photographic icon for me and so many others. Once I knew him, we spent pretty much every weekend together on Long Island. I would spend time with him in his lab and he would call us in to look at his work in his darkroom. Although we always talked about photography, I actually tried not to be too influenced by his work, as I wanted to keep and cultivate my own vision and style.”

In the long span of her career, Gabriella Imperatori-Penn has worked for some of the most influential magazines such as American Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, Departures, Elle Decor, O, The Oprah Magazine, Martha Stewart Living and Architectural Digest as well as some of the most prestigious advertising clients such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Knoll, L’Oreal, Lancôme and Cartier. Gabriella Imperatori-Penn’s works are held in numerous private collections. In 2019, she placed first in Heart Goes Nine exhibition presented at the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts curated by art historian, J. Sybylla Smith.

Gabriella Imperatori-Penn

Gabriella Imperatori-Penn is a fine art photographer.  She was always drawn to the quiet conversations of still life, which led to an extensive commercial and editorial career. Her work is both bold and feminine, marrying the descriptive and mysterious. Other travels both for commercial and personal reasons continually stimulate her photographic nature studies.