Artist Evan Penny loved the feeling of modelling clay as a young child. The ability to create and mould clay is pure satisfaction for most kids. Penny claims he was just average in the areas of painting and drawing but there was something about sculpting that made him pursue his interest as a young adult. So, he enrolled himself in a figurative sculpture program in Calgary. He eventually he found a career as a special effects creator in Hollywood for Oliver Stone and others working on films like JFK and Natural Born Killers, while pursuing his art.
Today, he is known internationally for his hyper-realistic sculptures of people - known or fictitious. The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), opens Evan Penny: Re Figured - a solo exhibition at this only Canadian stop on his world tour featuring over 25 of Penny's larger-than-life sculptures. Each one is painstakingly crafted from layers of pigmented silicone. Each human hair, pore and skin condition are hauntingly realistic. Blending real and abstract, Penny shows the human form as we know it and in distorted proportions - often on the same sculpture. You'll find yourself staring and wondering as you view each piece as to how he managed to stretch, pull, compress, distort the human form to such precise details.
In his body of work titled "OLD SELF, YOUNG SELF", Penny sees himself as a young man and old. He examines a different kind of distortion: self perception - imagining his past and future self making us wonder about our relationship with reality.
"Evan's strikingly original sculptures have essentially created a genre," said Matthew Teitelbaum, Director and CEO of the AGO. "Born in South Africa and raised in Canada, his work has been shown across the world for years, and it is with delight that we welcome him home with is first solo exhibition at the AGO."
AGO is the final stop for Evan Penny: Re Figured following exhibitions at Germany's Kunsthalle Tubingen, The Museum der Moderne Salzburg in Austria, and Italy's Museo delle Arti Cantanzaro.
The exhibition runs until January 6, 2013.
Age recommendation: Suitable for families. There is a dedicated section that explains the creative process and where you (and the kids) will be able touch & feel the materials that Penny uses. Please note there is one fully nude male sculpture. Although somewhat distorted. Also remember to visit the Dr. Mariano Elia Hands-On Centre located in the Weston Family Learning Centre at the AGO where kids have fun creating, imagining, making art and exploring. Little ones can explore all their senses and gain a basic appreciation of Evan Penny's sculptures!
For more information please visit www.ago.net