Ahab: A Brief History of Decline

Hamilton Hall Platforms

The University of the Arts’ Hamilton Hall Public Art Initiative is pleased to present a new project by New Jersey-based artist Scott Pellnat. Titled “Ahab: A Brief History of Decline,” Pellnat’s installation presents a broken sailing ship on the north platform, coupled with a carefully constructed faux-stone tower on the south platform.

Upon closer examination, Pellnat’s ship seems to be oozing blood and viscera. The rear half of the ship has been torn away, exposing horror-movie gore instead of broken timbers. As the viewer walks up to the ship, it suddenly springs to life, the prow of the ship revealing a jaw, which opens and closes in an unnatural, jerking motion. Walking up onto the platform with the tower, the viewer notices a series of hidden portholes that reveal tiny, illuminated dioramas inside the piece.

Pellnat’s bleeding ship calls to mind stories of ghost ships found drifting on the ocean, but also the idea of the zombie. Here, the undead serve as a metaphor for our half-aware everyday existence, lulled into forgetting our past and our future by the blandishments of consumer culture.

Scott Pellnat holds a BFA in Painting and Sculpture from the Parsons School of Design. His recent exhibitions include “Catagenesis” at Globe Dye Works in Philadelphia and “Out of Bounds” at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. He recently completed the Career Development Fellowship at the Center for Emerging Visual Artists.

For more information on the Hamilton Hall Public Art Initiative, please contact Lewis Colburn at lcolburn@uarts.edu or 215-717-6645.

Photos by Morgan Beye '14 (Photography).

Hamilton Hall
320 S Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
United States

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