Robyn Penn Paradise Lost
31 January – 28 February 2017
Opening reception: Tuesday 31st January, 18h00
Barnard Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by Robyn Penn entitled Paradise Lost.
Spaces of uncertainty, of unknowing, are very often acutely uncomfortable spaces to occupy. Despite being essential moments of tension which pervade the human psyche, continuous realities of our engagement with the world around us, they are nonetheless spaces which we actively resist and avoid. Yet they are undeniably spaces of potential, and it is our response to uncertainty that dictates whether this potential is generative or destructive. The paradox of this potential occupies a central role in the work of Robyn Penn. From within an ongoing preoccupation with the crisis of climate change, Penn ruminates upon the ways in which human beings endeavour to conquer uncertainty through an attempted mastery or order of the world, and the devastating environmental consequences these attempts hold.
As one of the most difficult variables to measure and predict within the science of climate change, the cloud has become a consistent and charged symbol within Penn’s oeuvre. Functioning as a visual metonym for an uncertainty that is both global and personal, universal and particular, the cloud also directly references the realities of climate change. Reappearing like a strange phantom in uncanny stillness, Penn’s clouds are weighty with an undeniable sense of foreboding and disquiet, a nebulousness that is psychological as well as physical. Penn’s repetition of the cloud visually recalls the methods of Surrealist painter René Magritte; while her affinity with 18th century Romanticism is evident in her desire to, through this repetition, both resist chaos and relinquish herself to the sublime processes of transformation and dissolution.
Robyn Penn (nee Arenstein) was born in South Africa in 1973 and currently lives and works in Johannesburg. The artist was awarded an honours degree, with distinction, in Fine arts from Canterbury University, New Zealand and also spent one year training in Fine Arts at The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Previous exhibitions have included Cloud of Unknowing (2015), Echo (2013) and Exit (2012) all at David Krut Projects, Johannesburg.
Paradise Lost is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Cape Town.
BARNARD GALLERY | 55 Main Street, Newlands, Cape Town
021 671 1553 | www.barnardgallery.com
Mon-Fri 9am – 5pm or by appointment