Rolled Up Mats

Polly Penrose, English, born 1976


See Previous Article See next Article


Archival pigment ink print

Sheet: 40 × 50 in. (101.6 × 127 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Sondra and Charles Gilman Jr., Foundation Fund. Selected by participants in the seminar "Museum Collecting 101": Sarah Alpert, Class of 2021; Cristal De La Cruz, Class of 2022; Ekene M. Duruaku, Class of 2022; Analicia Gonzales, Class of 2021; Grace Hanselman, Class of 2020; Cheron Laughing, Class of 2019; Barbara Yijing Li, Class of 2022; Michael A. Nielson, Tuck Class of 2020; Margot Putnam, Class of 2019; Paulomi Rao, Class of 2019; Kelly Scrima, MALS Class of 2021; Amy Tsai, Class of 2021

Courtesy of the artist and Benrubi Gallery, NYC


Portfolio / Series Title

I Was Never Good at Yoga


Place Made: England, United Kingdom, Europe


21st century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


Rolled Up Mats is part of a series of photographs in which London-based Polly Penrose poses with exercise equipment, combining herself and the objects into hybrid sculptural forms. The series comments on the weight of expectations placed on bodies to conform to society’s standards—and indeed, the physically punishing process of posing often left Penrose bruised and aching. In this photograph, whiteness, femininity, and class intersect, particularly when considered against the backdrop of today’s commercialized wellness industry. And while a nude female back may call to mind the archetype of the seductive Venus or odalisque figure, Penrose subverts this idealization, adapting the archetype of female perfection to picture herself as vulnerable and imperfect.

From the 2022 exhibition Embodied: Artist as Medium, curated by Isadora Italia, Campus Engagement Manager

Exhibition History

Embodied: Artist as Medium, Isadora Italia, MALS Class of 2022, Sol LeWitt Wall, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, October 1–December 17, 2022.


Benrubi Gallery, New York, New York; sold to present collection, 2019.

This record is part of an active database that includes information from historic documentation that may not have been recently reviewed. Information may be inaccurate or incomplete. We also acknowledge some language and imagery may be offensive, violent, or discriminatory. These records reflect the institution’s history or the views of artists or scholars, past and present. Our collections research is ongoing.

We welcome questions, feedback, and suggestions for improvement. Please contact us at: