Michael Pennie is a sculptor whose work - usually made by carving wood - is represented in many public and private collections throughout Britain and beyond. Since 1960 he has had numerous solo shows, his first at the ICA, and has participated in many group exhibitions in England and abroad notably at Tate Britain, the Serpentine and Hayward Galleries and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Because of his interest and curiosity about African art Michael Pennie has made 12 journeys to West Africa to see sculpture, particularly the work of the Lobi people of the Upper West region of Ghana. As a result of these trips Michael Pennie has written several small books about travel, art and life throughout West Africa.
Pennie has curated 3 touring exhibitions: African, LOBI and West African Journeys. LOBI and West African Journeys are now part of the Ghana Museum and Monuments Board collections; they are to be the nucleus of a new museum in Wa in Ghana.
Michael Pennie's African research was funded by Bath Spa University where he was Senior Lecturer responsible for sculpture in the Faculty of Art and Music and then Professor from1996 until his retirement from teaching in 2001.
Since then Pennie has placed his large sculpture Assembly inside the cathedral at Salisbury as part of the In Praise of Wood exhibition. There followed more carved woodworks, Assembly & other wood sculptures for the inaugural exhibition at Rook Lane Chapel in Frome.
After this something new, a radical change of scale as well as material and process.
In September 2004 Pennie began his Project of 100 Small Bronzes cast in his workshop at Chapel Barn Farm, near Atworth. These bronzes and more, 157 in total, were included in the exhibition Across the Board + 2 Other Sculptures, seen first at Black Swan Arts in Frome in 2007, Pound Arts, Corsham in 2007/2008 and in November 2008 at Huddersfield Art Gallery.