2023 FOCUS | Motion Capture

This exhibition features work by Yael Braha and Bridget Conn; two artists who capture motion within physical form.

Yael Braha creates functional ceramics with bold graphic designs. Lines, curves, and patterns both distort and add movement to the surface of her work while physical seams – where two clay slab edges meet – create contrast and tension within the form. The way the graphic patterns are cut, assembled, overlapped and framed produces a stimulating visual experience while the surface pattern reliefs provide an equally interesting tactile one. Braha’s ceramic pieces are illusions of movement that you can hold, touch, and use.

In an increasingly digitized world, Bridget Conn celebrates the physicality of analog photography through the medium of photographic chemigrams. Created without a camera or negatives, Conn’s chemigrams are made by exposing silver gelatin photo paper to light, resists, and traditional darkroom chemistry. The pieced and sewn images in this exhibition begin as an exploration of gestural marks made by drawing through resists on photographic paper. Through the process of cutting these chemigrams into strips and piecing them back together again with sewing thread, Conn introduces structure to her intuitive mark making, highlights the materiality of her images, and gives emphasis to the edges where one captured motion meets another.

MOTION CAPTURE opens in our FOCUS Gallery on Tuesday, September 19th.

A preview of the exhibition will be available online HERE on Saturday, September 16th at 5:00PM.
All works online will be marked as sold until sales begin on Tuesday, September 19th at 5:00PM. 


I create functional ceramic work with bold and stylized surface designs that focuses on optical and geometrical illusions, patterns and tessellations. I use lines and curves to distort and add dynamism to the surface of my work, and I use seams and negative spaces to create contrast and tension within a form. The surface pattern reliefs add a sensually tactile experience when the work is held, touched, and used.

My current ceramic sculptural and installation work is influenced by my upbringing – being a daughter of refugees from North Africa – as I witness multiple refugee crises continue today. I work primarily with wild clays – either hand harvested or wild clays from North Carolina (such as Starworks clays): I hand carve them to create abstract forms that explore dichotomies of containment/displacement, erosion/accretion, migration/residency and themes related to survival, resilience and transformation.



Created without a camera or negatives, my chemigrams are made by exposing silver gelatin photo paper to light, resists, and traditional darkroom chemistry. The Pattern-Speak subseries of my work evolved from the desire to repurpose unsuccessful chemigram drawings. I cut these prints into strips and seek the repetitious, recognizable marks created by my hand as I drew directly onto the photo paper. I set up compositional problems to solve, introducing structure to the uncontrolled and intuitive mark-making of the original drawings. Celebrating the materiality of silver gelatin paper, I construct these works with thread to highlight their physicality in response to our society’s increasingly-digitized existence.

While examining forms of symmetry, I draw relationships between machine-assisted sewing and the photographic darkroom. Both the use of a sewing machine and the darkroom were once considered technologies — automated processes that helped humankind achieve a means to an end. In our present day, both these methods are conversely seen as tools in the production of unique, hand-made artworks. Rather than resorting to pure nostalgia, I value the use of antiquated technologies as a way to emphasize the importance of process in contemporary art making.  I embrace these materials as a respite from the ever-growing demands of life conducted before a computer screen, and the resulting physiological challenges that younger generations bear as a result.


To inquire about works in the exhibition contact us at 828.765.6211 or via email at gallerycoordinator@penland.org