Exhibition

Vanessa Platacis: Taking Place

On view September 28, 2019 to January 1, 2022

Taking Place is a wall painting installation by Savannah-based artist, Vanessa Platacis, that reimagines some of PEM’s most beloved objects. The artist researched the museum’s vast and varied holdings, diving deep to find unexpected connections across time, cultures, and materials. Platacis turned her findings into 210 canvas stencils—all drawn and cut by hand with X-Acto blades. After applying the stencils to the walls, she and her assistant used a variety of spray-paint and graffiti techniques, including drop shadows, high contrast, and layering, to apply color to the walls and give dimensionality and life to her forms. Organic forms and curvilinear lines emerged as unifying design motifs that speak to the natural world. As you move deeper into these galleries, floral forms give way to enchanting fauna and larger-than-life presentations of familiar and unexpected objects. Platacis’ labor-intensive contemporary approach to painting connects to the artistry and skill embedded within the historical objects in PEM’s collection, creating a fascinating interplay between artistic practice then and now. What discoveries await?

Share your impressions on social media using the hashtag #PEMpresenttense and #TakingPlaceProject.

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Artist Vanessa Platacis installing her work, Taking Place. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.
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Vanessa Platacis stencils for her installation, Taking Place. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.
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Detail from artist Vanessa Platacis installation, Taking Place. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.
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Artist Vanessa Platacis installing her work, Taking Place. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.
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Artist Vanessa Platacis installing her work, Taking Place. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.
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Vanessa Platacis stencils for her installation, Taking Place. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.
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Detail from artist Vanessa Platacis installation, Taking Place. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.
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Detail from artist Vanessa Platacis installation, Taking Place. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.
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Detail from artist Vanessa Platacis installation, Taking Place. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.
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Artist Vanessa Platacis installing her work, Taking Place. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.
Related \\ Connected

Stencils, spray paint, wall-to-wall