|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Evan Penny is a sculptor, educator and movie special effects artist. He
was born in Elim, South Africa and lived in Southern Rhodesia (now
Zimbabwe). In 1963 his family moved to the Northwest Territories,
Canada and then to Edmonton, Alberta (c.1965). He subsequently lived in
Calgary, Alberta (c. 1971-1985) and Chicago, Illinois (c. 1986
-1988). His home has been Toronto, Ontario since 1988.|
His sculptures are made from moulded silicone, with pigment and
implanted hair (1). His subjects are the human figure, busts, faces,
heads and portraits. Recent works are meticulously detailed head and
shoulder busts at twice life size or larger; and though they appear
three-dimensional, they are actually wall-mounted reliefs; ‘a merging
of sculpture and photography’ (2). His style is referred to as Photo
Realism and Hyperrealist. However he has also stretched and distorted
some of the portraits into something quite unrealistic and perhaps
surrealistic. Quote: "My interest is to situate the sculptures
perceptually between the way we might see each other in real time and
space and the way we imagine our equivalent in a photographic
representation." – Evan Penny.
Penny earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (1971-1975) and a Master of Fine
Arts degree (1977-1978) at the Alberta College of Art (Calgary)(3),
where he studied under Katie Ohe (see AskART) and Ole Holmstein.
He has taught at the Alberta College of Art (1982 - 1983); the Art
Institute of Chicago (1986 - 1988); the Ontario College of Art, Toronto
(1988 - 1989) and the Toronto School of Art (1994 - 1997).
He has also been a guest lecturer at the University of Akron (Ohio),
Memorial University (St. John's, Newfoundland), the University of
Guelph (Ontario), the University of Calgary (Alberta), the University
of Toronto (Ontario), the Alberta College of Art and Design, the
Emily Carr University of Art and Design (Vancouver, British Columbia),
McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario), the University of Chicago, the
University of Alberta (Edmonton), the Art Institute of Chicago, the
Ontario College of Art, and the University of Illinois
The venues for Penny’s solo exhibitions of his sculptures have included
the Edmonton Art Gallery, Alberta (1981); Wynick/Tuck Gallery, Toronto
(1982, 84, 86, 92, 95); The Art Gallery of Algoma, Sault Ste. Marie,
Ontario (1987, 05); the Trépanier Baer Gallery, Calgary ( 1995, 97, 02,
04); Galeria Segovia Issacs, Barcelona, Spain (1997, 98, 99); the
Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery, Ontario (2003); Museum London, Ontario
(2004); the Glenbow Museum, Calgary (2004); the Columbus Museum of
Art,Ohio (2007); Sperone Westwater, New York (2005, 09); and Tomio
Koyama Gallery, Tokyo (2007).
The public venues for group exhibitions include the Art Gallery of
Hamilton, Ontario (1991, 95); the University of Akron, Ohio
(1992); the Art Gallery of Mississauga, Ontario (1997); the Art Gallery
of Ontario, Toronto (2003, 08); the Vancouver Art Gallery, B.C. (2005);
the Lyman Allyn Museum, New London, Connecticut (2006); Museum
Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland (2006); the Parrish Art Museum,
Southampton, New York (2007); and Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf,
His special effects work can be seen in the movies "Jacob's Ladder"
(1989), "JFK" (1991), "Natural Born Killers" (1994), "Johnny Mnemonic"
(1995),"Nixon" (1995), "Existenz"(1999), and "X Men"(2000).
His works are in many private collections. They are also in numerous
public collections including the Columbus Museum of Art (Ohio), the
Albright Knox Gallery (Buffalo, New York), the Flint Institute of Art
(Michigan), the National Portrait Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), the Art
Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Museum London (Ontario),the Glenbow
Museum (Calgary), the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto),
the Art Gallery of Windsor (Ontario), the Mendel Art Gallery
(Saskatoon), the Nickle Art Museum (Calgary), the Art Gallery of
Hamilton (Ontario), the MacDonald Stewart Art Gallery (Guelph, Ontario)
and the Art Gallery of Algoma (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario).
His many awards include Canada Council Senior Grants (1999, 2000) and an Ontario Arts Council Senior Grant (2001).
(1) A description of the process from a Ken Johnson review in the
New York Times, October 14, 2005: "Mr. Penny sculptures his subjects in
clay and then makes molds into which he applies thin layers of colored
silicone rubber, using different tools and hues to create blemishes,
veins and other epidermal variations. Finally he adds glassy eyes and
hair -- human or equine -- one strand at a time."
(2) From an article titled "Evan Penny: L. Faux and No One – In
Particular" by Xandra Eden in The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery
(Toronto) news letter dated May 1, 2002 . The exact wording “…a project that would merge sculpture with photography.”
(3) Since 1995 the Alberta College of Art and Design.
Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.
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