January 3, 2009

Evan Penny solo exhibition at Sperone Westwater, NYC
Exhibition runs from Jan 9 to Feb 14

9 January – 14 February 2009 opening reception 9 January, 6:00-8:00pm
Sperone Westwater is pleased to announce an exhibition of new sculpture by Evan Penny. This is the artist’s second solo show at the gallery.Catalogue available with essay by Kenneth E. Silver

For this exhibition of eleven new works, Penny has expanded his practice
of creating “altered” renderings of the human figure from silicone,
pigment, hair and aluminum. With the exception of Large Murray (2008),
the artist’s first free-standing sculpture in many years, Penny’s
preferred format continues to be the classic portrait bust, transformed
by enlarging, stretching and skewing the subject’s features. Penny’s
focus has been to push the boundaries of representation by creating
hyperreal sculptures which are neither fully three dimensional nor two

In several of the new works on view, Penny develops his technique even
further to incorporate elements of time-based photography and
three-dimensional pictorial organization. In Panagiota: Conversation #1,
Variation 2 (2008) and Panagiota: Conversation #2, Variation 1 (2008),
Penny has created a portrait from in-motion photographs that were taken
of his friend Panagiota speaking. For the first time, he has introduced
time and motion as formal considerations in his work. The result is that
we see the subject as she moves through time – specifically as she
converses with Penny. In Self, variation #1 (2008), the distortion of
the self portrait does not derive from frontal, two-dimensional
pictorial references such as forced perspective, anamorphism, stretching
or alteration. Instead, the geometry of the piece is based on a
three-dimensional rhomboid, where all 6 sides of a cube are pulled and
skewed. In the end, there is no single view in which Self, variation #1
(2008) fully resolves into an undistorted, naturalistically proportioned image.

As a young artist in Calgary, Alberta, Penny asked himself,
“How do you do figurative sculpture and make it relevant and
contemporary when the terms are shifting constantly?”

In these eleven new works, Penny succeeds in generating a contemporary approach to figuration with a sculptural practice set within the context of modern photography, computer technology and virtual space.

Born in South Africa in 1953, Penny currently lives and works in
Toronto, Canada. Since his first solo exhibition in 1981, Penny’s work
has been exhibited throughout Canada and abroad. A major survey of the artist’s work, “Absolutely Unreal,” traveled to several different venues in Canada during 2004 and 2005, including the Museum London in London, Ontario, the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta. Most recently, “Evan Penny”, was organized by the Columbus Museum of Art, in Columbus, Ohio and traveled to the Flint Institute of Arts in Flint, Michigan (2007). Penny’s work is included in numerous public collections including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto, the Flint Institute of Arts, and the Columbus Museum of Art.

There will be an opening reception, with the artist in attendance, on 9
January from 6-8 pm. A catalogue with full color reproductions and an
essay by Kenneth Silver, Professor of Modern Art at New York University, will accompany the exhibition.