Stewart was born in Montréal, Québec. She received a BFA from York University, Toronto and an MFA from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Stewart is the recipient of numerous grants and awards from the Toronto, Ontario and Canada Arts Councils. Her large-scale photographs received First Prize at Photo-Op, Toronto, and at the prestigious Centre for the Perceptual Arts, (CEPA), New York. In 2010, she was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts (RCA). In 2016, she received a commission for Maison Alexandre in Paris, France and has been shortlisted for a CAMH Public Art commission. During 2017 Stewart was in residence at Linda Duvall’s/PAVED Gallery Saskatoon’s In The Hole residency, an immersive durational project in a large hole on Treaty 6 land in rural Saskatchewan. Stewart has been named the Nik Novak Fellow for 2017-18 at Open Studio, Toronto and will begin her tenure in September.
Penelope Stewart’s multi-disciplinary practice, encompassing sculpture, photography and works on paper (drawing, print media and bookworks), is primarily the making of expansive installations that develop in situ and in close interaction to the surrounding environs. Whether it has been historic sites such as Musée Barthète, a tile museum in France, or Dawson College’s Peace Garden, Montreal, or a museum like the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, her intentions are to create sensory spaces, haptic experiences, transforming our perceptions and possible readings of space, time and memory.