March 22, 2014

LOOK AT THIS: The Eerily Realistic Sculptures Of Evan Penny

LOOK AT THIS is a weekly series featuring the work of Canadian artists, designers and creators of all sorts on, the website of the Canadian Broadcast Corporation program George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight. Please click here to see the gallery of images from the site.

Name: Evan Penny

Born: South Africa, 1953

Raised: Zimbabwe, the Northwest Territories and Edmonton

Lives and works: Toronto

The work: Penny’s sculptures are so full of detail that they go beyond realism to an uncanny, eerie place. He also plays with space, stretching out bodies and faces, or playing with depth and flatness. He told, “I try to situate my sculpture somewhere between the way we perceive each other in real time and space and the way we perceive ourselves and each other in an image.”

How he makes them: Penny’s process is fairly traditional for a sculptor — he models in clay, makes a mold of the finished clay and casts it into a final medium. He also uses contemporary materials like silicone. The process, he says, “owes much to my experience, doing special effects in the film industry for a number of years.”

Who are his subjects? Mostly people he knows. “I prefer to work with friends and people I know because it is usually a long process, and good company is desirable.” But he has a different relationship with the sculptures than viewers do: “Because it is a long process, I am probably more distanced from the emotional closeness that the viewer might have on first encounter with the sculpture.”

Image Credit: Evan Penny with Juliann, Variation #1, 2014