February 4, 2023

Evan Penny: The Venetian Mirror

Exposure Photography Festival 2023
Opening Saturday, February 4, 2023
1:30 pm to 5:00 pm

TrépanierBaer Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in the 2023 Exposure Photography Festival with three exhibitions: Barbara Steinman: Keeping Time, Geoffrey James: Trees, and Evan Penny: The Venetian Mirror. While distinct in their respective representations, these photographic bodies of work share concerns regarding the poetics of space, time, and memory, and how they are translated and expressed via the genre of photography. All of the works on view are replete in both the visual and philosophical senses, and should not be missed!

Also at the gallery is a series of small, intimate photographs by Evan Penny from his Venetian Mirror series, inspired by the body of work produced for his 2017 exhibition in Venice. Referring to the archaic Greek myth of the flaying of Marsyas by the god Apollo, these photographs imagine the moment when Marsyas, gazing upon his flayed skin, asks: “Why do you peel me from myself?”

Taken with a cellphone camera, these images capture the reflection of Marsyas, a figurative sculpture of the mythical creature referenced above, in the reflective and fragmented surface of another sculpture titled Venetian (body) Mirror, this one made of gold plated cast bronze. The result is a unique asymmetrical kaleidoscopic pattern that underscores the notion of representation and re-presentation, and the fluidity between both concepts. Here, Penny endeavours to connect that hallucinogenic moment to our contemporary relationship with photography and the de-stabilizing and disembodying effects of selfie culture.


Evan Penny was born in South Africa in 1953, and immigrated to Canada in 1962. In 1975 he graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design, and completed Post-Graduate studies in sculpture in 1978.

From his earliest sculptural busts in the 1970s through to his first nude sculptures in the early 1980s, Penny has devoted himself to an examination of how the concepts of sculptural realism have been influenced by classicism, romanticism, and – most importantly for the artist – by the advent of traditional and digital photography.

In 2017, Evan Penny’s work was presented in a solo exhibition titled Ask Your Body (with a catalogue) at Chiesa San Samuele in Venice, Italy. Ask Your Body was curated by Michael Short and organized by TrépanierBaer; it ran in conjunction with the 57th edition of La Biennale di Venezia, from May to November, 2017.

A touring solo survey exhibition titled Evan Penny RE FIGURED premiered at the Kunsthalle Tübingen, Germany, 2011; it was also shown at the Museum Der Moderne, Salzburg Austria, 2011/12; MARCA, Cantanzaro, Italy, 2012, and at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 2012/13.

Recent group exhibitions of note include: Hyper sensible, Musée d’arts de Nantes, France, 2023; I Am Nobody. Are You Nobody Too?, Meşher, Istanbul, Turkey, 2022/23; Thrill of Deception, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich, Germany, 2019, and Ludwig Forum for International Art, Aachen, Germany, 2019; and Skin, Palazzo Doria Pamphilij, Rome, Italy, 2018.

A touring group exhibition titled RESHAPED REALITY – 50 Years of Hyperrealistic Sculpture also features the work of Evan Penny. Shown at various venues around the world, recent and upcoming shows include: Hyperréalisme :  Ceci n’est pas un corps, Musée Maillol, Paris, France,  2022/23, and at  La Sucrière, Lyon, France, 2023;  MUDEC, Museo delle Culture, Milan, Italy 2020/2021; National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei, 2019,  and  the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2018. Evan Penny’s work was shown at the National Gallery of Canada in 2016; and in a group exhibition titled THE LOOKING GLASS, at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Canada, 2017.

Evan Penny is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada; the Art Gallery of Ontario; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery;  theHirshhorn Museum; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art;  the Columbus Museum of Art; the Glenbow Museum; and in many significant private collections around the world.

Image Credit:
Evan Penny
Venetian Mirror #2, 2022
Colour photograph
8” x 8”