Penelope Jencks’ work has been commissioned and shown in the United States, Europe, and India. Her best-known work is the monumental sculpture of Eleanor Roosevelt at Riverside Drive and 72nd Street, New York.
She also pursues her own private work, exhibited in a 2006 Retrospective at Boston University. In the 1970s and 1980s she worked on life-size terracotta sculptures of figures on the beach: Beach Series I. In this work she was mostly concerned with how the nude body related to the beach in the similarity of its forms and colors. In using terra cotta she was investing the figure with the substance of the beach, as well as molding the “beach” into the form of the human body.
The later works are plaster, which is a stronger material and thus could be made larger. These figures have to do with the nudity that prevailed on the beaches that her parents frequented the 1940s. They are of a scale such that the viewer, when looking at them, would be the size of a child compared to an adult. The viewer has the same perspective she had as a child, looking up into the mysteries of the aging body.